Purchase o the Week: 72 Main St.
By the Numbers
Address: 72 Main St.
Acres: .26 of an acre.
Structure(s): Main house.
Seller: Wayne Wytrzes and Leslie Wytrzes of Palm Beach, Fla.
Buyer: 72 Main Street Trust of Nantucket, Mass.
Details: Known as the John Wendell Barrett House, this beautiful large house just above the busy section of Main Street opposite the Pacific National Bank is believed to have been designed and built by artisan John Coleman, a prominent house builder of the 1820s and 1830s on Nantucket, according the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS). "He was the person on Nantucket
who achieved the greatest renown for his ability to use wood in producing houses with neo-classic details."
The HABS said that 72 Main St. "is an example of the conservative yet comparatively elaborate type of architecture of the wealthy merchants after the War of 1812." The HABS continues, "The house is symmetrically balanced. With the exception of the cut-stone stoop and the high brick basement, the rest of the house is constructed of wood, and shows the skill and quality of work which the conservative ship-builder-carpenter-contractor-architects on Nantucket were able to achieve. Clapboards are used on all sides. The details on the house are so finely executed that the transition from masonry work, as shown in the English pattern books, to a working of these same details in wood has been achieved. The front porch with two pairs of Ionic columns is the dominant feature of the facade. The large cupola, a development of the "walk" on the earlier houses has Greek Revival decorative details."
The convenient location of his house worked well for Mr. Barrett, as he was president of the Pacific National Bank from 1848 to1866. His house, although almost in the downtown area, actually survived the Great Fire of 1846. To read the entire fascinating HABS report for 72 Main St., click here.