St. Paul’s Church is blessed with a campus that, in addition to the church, includes three buildings: a parish house, a rectory, and a small cottage. They are adjacent to one another on Fair Street in the heart of Nantucket’s Historic District. There is parking for about 10 cars between the parish house and the church.
St. Paul's campus, showing from the right, the parish house, the church, and the rectory.
The parish house holds the church’s and the rector’s offices. There is a small conference room and a kitchen on the first floor and a choir rehearsal room and office space on the second floor. A full basement is used during our Christmas Stroll Market and Summer Fair and has ample storage. A portion of the parish house is used by Nantucket’s Lighthouse School as an in-town campus. The building's yard provides space for a patio and a small play area.
St. Paul’s Church, consecrated in 1902, was a gift of Caroline L.W. French, and is located to the north of the Parish ouse. The church is in the Romanesque style with a pink granite exterior and detailing in brownstone. The interior is based upon a basilica style, with a central aisle and two side aisles in the nave. The nave leads to the semicircular apse that houses the choir stalls and altar. The interior of the church is largely in oak with ash trim; carved wooden pillars support the roof.
St. Paul's Church from the south, showing the new Daume Entrance.
Wonderful stained glass windows combined with the fine details make St. Paul’s a handsome church. Most notably, there are five Tiffany windows with scenes of Nantucket plants in the apse and a large Tiffany “Water of Life” window at the west end of the central aisle. The Tiffany windows date from the church’s founding. In 1955, 16 stained glass windows were commissioned from the Connick Company to decorate the side aisles of the church and the narthex. These windows depict scenes from the life of Christ. In 1968, the Willet Glass Studio designed 12 “I Am” windows for the clerestory. At about the same time, they designed a set of more contemporary windows for the chapel, which had originally served as the sacristy and choir room.
Click here for a link to a self guided tour of the windows.
While the building has been upgraded over time, some five years ago the vestry decided to undertake a significant capital investment in the church. Our 2012-2014 Capital Campaign raised in excess of $2 million from parish members, friends of the church, and public sources. This renovation included the construction of a matching stone addition - the Daume Entrance -that, including a lift, made St. Paul's fully accessible.
In addition we renovated our sacristy and robing room and refinished the floors, the pews, and the kneelers in the nave. Our organ was dismantled, sent to Andover Organ for a full renovation and expansion, and was reinstalled in mid-2014.
Gardner Hall, the undercroft of the church, was also renovated - an old kitchen was replaced with a modern, stainless steel, commercial kitchen, and the lavatory facilities were replaced and are now fully accessible. Finally an oil-fired heating system was replaced with a high-efficiency propane system.
Between the church and the rectory is a beautiful garden that can be used for church receptions and events. It has served as a site for wedding receptions as well as Easter Egg Rolls.
In the back of the Church Garden is a Memorial Area, where ashes of the deceased may be interred. Arrangements for internment are found under Funerals and Memorial Services.
Originally constructed in the late 18th century, the rectory was connected directly to the church until 2001. At that time, the building was moved to an adjacent lot on Fair Street and extensively renovated, with a two-story addition for a kitchen, master bedroom, and bath. At the same time, the historic character of the building was preserved with exposed beams and wide-board flooring.
The rectory is sunlit and airy. The first floor has two living areas, a center hall, a large kitchen with an eat-in area, a dining room, and a utility room. The second floor has four bedrooms and baths, and the third floor has a large room with a half bath. There is a full basement with a full bathroom that can be used as an office, a work area, or an apartment.
Located to the rear of the memorial garden and the rectory, this cottage is rented and, in return, the tenants have generally done light maintenance on our properties.