Nantucket, a Wampanoag word meaning “far-away island,” was first settled by Europeans in 1659. The earliest settlers, known as the “Proprietors,”
As the entrance to the harbor became impassible, Nantucket lost its whaling focus and experienced a general economic decline. Ironically, this downturn and the resulting absence of new building, along with modern cultural change, became the springboard for its later revival. Nantucket was transformed into a tourist destination, an artist colony, and a summer home to the wealthy and famous, with a rich maritime heritage and a proud tradition of historic preservation.
Nantucket native James Everett Grieder has always had a deep interest in the island’s history. His efforts with the Nantucket Historic District Commission have allowed him to put his passion to work protecting the historic fabric of this special place. Georgen Charnes is the manuscript and photograph archivist at the Nantucket Historical Association, and through her work she has contributed greatly to the preservation of Nantucket’s long and storied history.
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