About the Hadwen House
The Hadwen House is a Greek Revival mansion built in 1846 by whaling merchant and silver retailer William Hadwen at the peak of Nantucket’s prosperity as the whaling capital of the world. The home is one of the most elaborate examples of Greek revival architecture on the island and the only publicly accessible mansion of its age in the area.
Hadwen purchased the property on the corner of Pleasant and Main in 1844, and commissioned local builder Frederick Brown Coleman, “an artisan who specialized in intricate carvings and designs for pillars,” to construct the two-and-a-half storied clapboard house with a five-bayed façade, colossal pilasters, and a pedimented ionic portico.
The beautifully-proportioned building and its twin Greek Revival mansion at 94 Main Street were the most ostentatious private dwellings the island had ever seen, and a symbol of the wealth and prosperity of the island’s leading citizens. The imposing structure was donated to the Nantucket Historical Association in 1963 by Jean Satler Williams.
In 1964, the Hadwen House was opened to the public as a house museum, and today continues to host visitors. Further preservation projects will allow NHA to expand on the building’s use and public access.
A formal dining room displays period furnishings and decorative objects, some of which are original to the home, including silverware from Hadwen House’s first owner, reflecting the opulent furnishings and grand lifestyle that had come to replace the island’s once dominant sober Quaker aesthetic. Many of the historic interior features of the house remain intact.
Visitors are also invited to enjoy the ground’s Victorian garden, typical of mid-19th century gardens with an enclosure, border designs, plant variety and succession of blooms with fruit trees and sand paths. The garden is carefully maintained by the Nantucket Garden Club.