Chatham Treasures

Richard Kahn started collecting antiques at the age of eight. It was the mid-1950s, and Kahn scored a fabulous bit of Americana; an autographed photo of the writer Mark Twain. Even as a young boy, Kahn knew he had hit on something big. “At that age, I was being told about The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and other Twain works,” Kahn says. His interior switch was flipped, and, as Kahn says, “I really got immersed in antiques and collectibles.” Read more…

Language of the Past

Hutker Architects learns the vocabulary of an antique Colonial for a harmonious new addition to a historical structure.

A wonderful piece of history sits serenely on Lower Mill Pond in Brewster’s historical Factory Village. The Nathaniel Winslow House—also known by locals as the High Brewster Inn—was built in 1738 near the gristmill and famous herring run. A true Colonial design, the structure has a center chimney and center hall flanked by two parlors (now both bedrooms) each with original pine-paneled walls and fireplaces; the original keeping room (now a living/music room) is located along the length of the original house. This room also has period paneling and a great hearth used for cooking in the 18th century. Read more…

A Beautiful Blend A Beautiful Blend

It’s not too often one comes across a piece of old Cape Cod so well preserved that experiencing it feels like a step back in time, but the 18th-century Benjamin Godfrey House on Stage Harbor Road in Chatham is such a place. Evoking the feeling of a bygone era, the Cape-style dwelling is situated on an acre of undulating lawns, which feature moss-covered stone walls, an old barn, an ancient fruit orchard, and views to Mill Pond. The Benjamin Godfrey house was first deeded in 1789. Although there are no documents showing the actual build date, Smith believes the house was erected circa 1750. Benjamin Godfrey operated the town gristmill, which was once located north of the property and was moved to Chatham’s Chase Park. Godfrey lived in the house until he passed away in 1818. Read more…

Treasure Island

Terry Pommett

Tonkin of Nantucket brims with beautiful antique furniture, collectibles, and art, and most of the items have a story that is as captivating as the pieces themselves. Take the hefty marine paintings burnished with the deep patina of British history. Owner Robert Tonkin explains that in the 18th and 19th centuries, the Royal Navy had an artist on all its major ships. “The paintings were done on wood panels,” Tonkin says, “so if the ship sank hopefully the painting floated and they would know what happened.” Read more…

Fabric of a Community

Dated between 1890 and 1900, the “Log Cabin”  quilt includes 42 blocks  of colors with black  embroidered lattice strips and a crochet edging.

The historic quilt collection at the Atwood House Museum in Chatham holds a treasure-trove of stories in its folds. Study the quilts’ intricate patterns, deep colors, rich textures—and sometimes even handwritten messages—and a swirl of history passes by.

Consider Marjory Smith, who bought the material for her gorgeous red and green quilt in Boston, when she traveled there to shop for bridal clothes for her 1833 wedding to John Atwood. Or Mehitable Atwood, whose friends and relatives pieced a multicolored “friendship” quilt in honor of her 1848 marriage to Benjamin Boylston and wrote bits of wisdom on its back (“Remember me when night closes in on thee” and “True friendship is everlasting” are just two of many).

With their captivating visuals and messages that were sometimes inked or stitched onto the back, the quilts give a glimpse of Chatham life in the 1800s and early 1900s—life that is as profound as any history book.

Read more…

The Niantic Sails Again

For as long as I can remember, a faded painting of my great great grandfather’s ship, the Niantic, hung in the parlor of our West Tisbury home. It had hung in our island house for 150 years. Every once in a while, we’d dust it or wipe off spider droppings.

Read more…

Seeing the Big Picture

Early Summer 2011

In a darkened room, wearing a surgical mask and gloves, Falmouth’s Ian Primrose inspects a subject lying on a table with a portable ultraviolet light. Under the UV fluorescence, he can see blotches.

Primrose is not a doctor, but rather a master of alchemy, mystery, and craftsmanship. He is a professional art restorer and conserv- ator. The UV light reveals paint strokes of an earlier restoration.

Read more…

Collected Christmas

The small and unassuming exterior might lead one to think that the Samuel Fessenden House is just another historical home. But once inside the circa 1840 house on Main Street in Sandwich, a treasure trove of antiques and wonderful collections abound—and come Christmas, those treasures are on full display. Read more…