A new exhibit in the Nantucket Whaling Museum tells the story of inspiring individuals who moved Nantucket—and the nation—towards a more just and equitable distribution of political power. It begins with a simple will written in 1710 that endowed a formerly enslaved man with property and continues to the enactment of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in 1920 that granted voting rights to women.
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Nantucket History & People
One of our most beloved town officials is Nantucket County Sheriff Jim Perelman. Known for combining kindness with professionalism, he won his last election by a landslide with more than 88% of the vote. He is very much a part of our island community and has an Open Door Policy at his office on Broad Street. We spoke with him recently about what he remembers about Nantucket in 1970…
As you walk along Easy Street in downtown Nantucket, it is hard to miss the signpost bearing the ACK4170 logo, and the quaint and welcoming front porch where you can rest for a moment before heading inside. The shop is just steps away from the beautiful and frequented Easy Street Boat Basin, and easily accessible from both the Hyline Ferry and the Steamship Ferry at 1 Old North Wharf.
Coming to terms with and adjusting to the reality of now has not been easy for anybody. Life is slowly returning to normal, though slower still here on Nantucket than usual, and with good reason. With weather warming and the population growing, many are wondering what to do, where to go, and how to do it safely.
I graduated from Barrington Consolidated High School in the spring of 1970. Five friends and I decided we would all meet on Nantucket that June for a reunion. None of us had ever been there. I was inspired by a high school English teacher named Charles White who got me interested in literature. I loved Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick and wanted to see the island. I hitchhiked from Barrington, located about 50 miles northwest of Chicago, to Pittsburgh, then to New York and on to Concord, MA, where I camped out at Walden Pond for a few days.
Ahh, 1970… seems so long ago with so many adventures and three children between then and now… the story really begins in 1968, a ‘Sconset Girl working as hostess at the Mad Hatter meets Missouri bouy bartending a the Harbor House. Who would expect this summer romance to lead to an “I do” at the Siasconset Chapel in July 1970?
Nantucket has always been home to Richard Montfort Cary. He grew up summering here in his family’s Hinckley Lane farmhouse, and his island roots go back to the 1800s. It was in 1970 that Cary moved himself, his wife Mara, and his son Donick back here to escape the theatre. He lived and worked on-island until 2004, with just a few intermissions. Many here remember Richard as the founder of Actors Theatre of Nantucket and as vibrant contributor to our community with his talent in music, writing, and all aspects of theatre.
Growing up on Nantucket in the 1970s – where to start? Let’s do it the way most great stories began…
Once upon a time, the whole of Dionis Beach was open, I swear. And that’s where all of us islanders would go. Every nice weekend in the summer, hundreds of Nantucket families would congregate out there. Cars filled the beach. Tires would be deflated in the adjacent parking lots – a process that seemed to take forever when I was a kid.
This season marks the 50th year that Yesterday’s Island has been published. To celebrate that anniversary, we are indulging in some nostalgia, remembering 1970 on Nantucket through interviews with island residents who were living and working here half a century ago. At that time, the island was beginning to draw …
Harvey Young is one happy guy. You have all seen him along Broad Street, always with a big beaming smile. He explains that he wakes up every day with a smile on his face… he adds almost apologetically “I’ve always been that way. I was born that way. I came into the world with a smile on my face.” Not surprisingly he has wonderful happy memories of growing up on Nantucket in the 1960s and 70s. In 1970 Harvey was 13, in the 8th grade at the old Cyrus Pierce School, and enjoying a very, very big year.