Oldest House (Jethro Coffin House) and Kitchen Garden, Nantucket

#6 of 16 in Historic Sites in Nantucket
Garden · Historic Site
The Jethro Coffin House, also known as the Oldest House, is a saltbox house on Sunset Hill Road in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Built in 1686, is the oldest house on Nantucket in its original location and is the only surviving structure from the island's 17th century English settlement. Because of the brick design on its chimney, it is also called the Horseshoe House. The house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1968. It is now a historic house museum owned and operated by the Nantucket Historical Association.DescriptionThe Coffin House is a 1-1/2 story wood frame structure, with a steeply-pitched roof and a large brick central chimney. The chimney is adorned with a projection in the shape of an inverted U; this has been variously interpreted as a horseshoe, or as a hex for warding off witches, or as a vernacular rendition of Jacobean brickwork styling. The house has only a relatively small number of casement windows, all of which feature diamond panes. There are two on either side of the main entrance, with others placed asymmetrically on the other walls. The house has a classic New England saltbox appearance, with a leanto (an addition in the early 18th century, rebuilt during restoration in the early 20th) extending to the rear of the house.HistoryThe house was built in 1686 as a wedding gift for Jethro Coffin and his bride, Mary Gardner . Jethro Coffin was a grandson of Tristram Coffin, one of the island's original proprietors. It was abandoned by a later owner during the American Civil War. The Nantucket Historical Association acquired the property in 1923, and conducted a major restoration of the property, including a reconstruction of the leanto section based on photographs after it was extensively damaged by fire in the 1860s. The house's chimney was struck by lightning in 1987, and the house sustained significant damage. The property was carefully restored by the NHA under the guidance of John Milner Architects, Inc.
Use our Nantucket visit planning website to arrange your visit to Oldest House (Jethro Coffin House) and Kitchen Garden and other attractions in Nantucket.
Create an itinerary including Oldest House (Jethro Coffin House) and Kitchen Garden
© OpenMapTiles © OpenStreetMap contributors

Oldest House (Jethro Coffin House) and Kitchen Garden reviews

Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
74 reviews
  • We took a private van tour and our driver was very knowledgeable about the history of this house. It was a great learning experience.  more »
  • The tour guide was very knowledgeable and so accomodating to our party of 4 trying to learn more about the Quaker (and general) history of the area. The house is an amazing example of history and it.....  more »
  • Was a fantastic tour, Nick was an amazing guide! So fun really enjoyed.
  • Amazing as ever. NANTUCKET# OldestHouse #Amazing # Unique❤👍❤

Plan your trip to Nantucket

  • Get a personalized trip
    A complete day by day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it
    Refine your trip. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Manage it
    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.