In 1955, Nantucket became one of the first two local historic districts in Massachusetts, through a Special Act that established the Nantucket Historic District and the Nantucket Historic District Commission with the purpose to “promote the general welfare of the inhabitants of the Town of Nantucket through the preservation and protection of historic buildings, places and districts of historic interest through the development of an appropriate setting for these buildings, places and districts and through the benefits resulting to the economy of Nantucket in developing and maintaining its vacation-travel industry through the promotion of these historic associations.”
On November 13, 1966, the Nantucket Historic District was designated as a National Historic Landmark (NHL) District by the National Park Service. Nantucket was “found to possess exceptional significance in illustrating or commemorating the history of the United States for the benefit and inspiration of the American people.” The Nantucket NHL was last updated on October 16, 2012.
The Nantucket local historic district was expanded in 1971 to include the entire Island of Nantucket. Therefore, the Islands of Nantucket, Tuckernuck & Muskeget are both a local and national historic district. The boundaries of the two local 1955 historic districts make up the Old Historic Districts of Nantucket Town and Siasconset Village.
The Town of Nantucket became a Certified Local Government (CLG) with the National Park Service on March 19, 2021. That same year, the Town received a Survey & Planning Grant from the Massachusetts Historical Commission, which is a federally funded, reimbursable 50/50 matching grant program to support historic preservation planning activities in communities throughout the state. Nantucket was awarded $22,500 grant to update Survey Forms within the Fish Lots neighborhood and produce a Historic Survey Plan for Nantucket. The Survey Plan provides a list of ranked priorities for a phased comprehensive survey of neighborhoods with an action plan for implementing priority survey goals for inventory by neighborhood. It also includes a preliminary identification and assessment of the nature and location of historic, cultural, and architectural resources. The plan shows approximate quantities of buildings constructed before 1976.
FY21 MHC Grant Project included a Pilot Survey of the Fish Lots Neighborhood area (see map here).
The Public Archaeology Laboratory, Inc. (PAL) undertook the Nantucket Community-Wide Historic Properties Survey, Pilot Survey for the Town of Nantucket, the Nantucket Historical Commission, and the Massachusetts Historical Commission to document approximately 100 historic resources within the Fish Lots Neighborhood (Fish Lots.)
PAL completed documentation for historic resources, identified contexts for National Register of Historic Places (National Register) evaluation, and assessed if there are any properties eligible for listing in the National Register. The survey was as pilot effort to begin an update of Nantucket’s historic resources survey. These properties were documented to better understand the historic resources of Nantucket and its development.
The Fish Lots Neighborhood:
The Fish Lots is one of the Town’s earliest historic centers of development and is immediately west of the commercial downtown and waterfront areas. It contains approximately 250 buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries and is densely developed with a variety of resource types, including primarily residential buildings with scattered commercial, civic, and religious buildings. The Fish Lots neighborhood includes properties on Charter Street, Darling Street, Eagle Lane, Fair Street, Farmer Street, Judith Chase Lane, Lyon Street, Orange Street, Pine Street, Pleasant Street, Ray’s Court, Silver Street, School Street, Tattle Court, and Twin Street.
The Pilot Survey resulted in one MHC Area Form A and 97 Building Form B inventory forms completed. All inventoried properties in the pilot survey are within and designated as contributing resources to both the National Register-listed and locally designated Nantucket Historic District, no MHC National Register Criteria Eligibility forms were completed for any of the individual properties for the area.