Purchase of the Week: 18 Crow's Nest Way
Wauwinet House's "Farmhouse" finally leaves the Backus family
By the Numbers
Address: 18 Crow's Nest Way.
Acres: .60 of an acre.
Structure(s): Main house, two sheds.
Seller: Frank Morral and Linda Backus Morral, Trustees of The Frank Morral Trust-2013 and the Linda Backus Morral Trust-2013, of Nantucket, Mass.
Buyer: A. G. Genden and Eric M. Genden of Bronxville, N.Y.
Details: This house is the original Farmhouse of the Wauwinet House, what today's Wauwinet Inn was originally named. For serving food to its guests, the Wauwinet House grew all of its own produce, kept cattle for milk and meat, and caught the fish and shellfish it needed in local waters. The following is an excerpt from Chapter 11 of the late Jane Lamb's book, "Wauwinet", published in 1990, on this historic house. "The Farmhouse," still owned by a member of the Backus family, was probably built in the late 1800s when Jim Backus bought this hotel abd the family began living in Wauwinet the entire year. Early pictures indicate it was a much smaller cottage, with additions as the family grew. A section of the present house is known as "Fisk's," no doubt a building owned by Mr. Fisk which was joined to the Farmhouse. Jim and Linda Backus had three childen, Helen, Allen and Robert, and as the family grew, so grew the house. Everyone at the wonderful, long dining room table, family and farm help together. Meals were always hearty and plentiful. Cooking was done on the coal stove, as was heating the water. All laundry for the hotel was done there also, washed by hand in two separate soapstone sinks, hung out to dry, and ironed by hand, on an electric mangle in the back room. Washers and dryers as well as permapress had not been invented then.
A large machine called a "separator" somehow separated the milk from the cream, and bottled each into its own bottles. Carried from the farm in large five- and ten-gallon cans, the milk was poured into the machine, and came out bottled. This is was long before days of required pasturization. The milk itself was so rich the cream rose that rose to the top of the "regular" milk had to be spooned from the bottle. The milk cans and each part of the separator were scalded after each use. During the winter months the milk was peddled in town, as were the extra eggs from the farm.
The last room addition to the Farmhouse was probably completed in the mid-1920s. Although a lovely deck has been added within the last few years, and several rooms have been rearranged on the first floor, the house remains virtually the same in outward appearance. The rooms are large and the original dining room table that seated twelve and 14 people at each meal is still in the house. Today the Farmhouse owned by Linda Backus Morral and her husband Frank. Linda is the granddaughter of Jim Backus."
Editors note: Linda Backus Morral and her husband, Frank Morral, sold this house this year at the urging of their children who didn't want see these two elderly Nantucketers go through another winter like last winter during which their parents were without power and heat several times during the fierce blizzards. The Morrals moved to warmer climes in San Diego, Calif.
Information courtesy: NAREB/Nantucket Property News and the Town of Nantucket