Also called the Jethro Coffin House, this is the oldest residence on Nantucket.
Built as a wedding gift in 1686 for Jethro Coffin and Mary Gardner, it is the sole surviving structure from the island’s original seventeenth-century English settlement. Jethro Coffin, who is listed as a blacksmith at the time of his death in 1727, was the grandson of one of the island’s first white settlers and original proprietors, Tristram Coffin. Coffin sold the house in 1708 to island weaver Nathaniel Paddack. From the Paddack family, it passed into the hands of George Turner, a cooper, in the 1840s. Turner later abandoned the building during the depressed years of the Civil War.
The Coffin Family Reunion of 1881 led to renewed interest in preservation and restoration of the structure. The Nantucket Historical Association acquired the house in 1923, and conducted a reconstruction of the original settlement in partnership with the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (SPNEA, now called Historic New England).
In 1987, the Oldest House was struck by lightning, and underwent restoration under the guidance of John Milner Architects, Inc. It stands today as a monument to the lives of the island’s earliest settlers.