Moonrakers exudes Nantucket history and charm. In the first decade of the nineteenth century local carpenter Lot Hinckley purchased the 29 Union Street parcel as part of the “Quanaty Bank” property and completed the house in 1806.  Like its neighbors on either side, Moonrakers typifies a traditional grey shingle “saltbox”. A few years later, ship’s carpenter Clovis Black purchased the home in 1812 for $1,525. For the next decade the house passed through the ownerships of several merchants and mariners until it was acquired by Job L. Trafton, a shipwright and ‘caulker’, in 1823. No doubt the house was kept ship-shape, as it was a caulker’s job to waterproof ocean-going vessels by filling plank cracks with oakum (untwisted strands of old ropes) and sealing with tar.  Trafton’s family owned the house for forty-five years before selling to widow Catherine Killeen in 1869. When Killeen sold the house five years later for $300, she cleverly insisted on retaining life rights in the property.  The 1870 U.S. Federal Census shows a full house at 29 Union: Killeen remained in residence with the new owners of the house, Patrick and Lizzie Keane, their four school-age children, a niece, and Killeen’s grandchildren ages twelve and thirteen.

Moonrakers remains an excellent example of an early 19th century captain’s house despite more than two centuries of subtle evolution and renovation.  The wider entry hall illustrates a later 19th century confluence of changing architectural fashions and formality. Note the old plaster walls, wide-board floors, transoms above the doorways and paneled fireplace walls all indicative of the Federal style. Despite various renovations, the current dining room and upstairs den show evidence of the house’s original plan. Smaller floorboards at the back of these rooms indicate a partition divide possibly for a back stairway prior to expansion. While Moonrakers has undergone changes since 1806, we believe she has retained the very best of each era’s style and practicality thanks to her long line of owners dedicated to her maintenance and stewardship.

Octavia and Russell Jones, both lifelong summer residents and devotees of Nantucket, look forward to welcoming you to Moonrakers. We are enthusiastically committed to providing you with the happiest, most relaxing island holiday regardless of the season. Should you want any recommendations for the best lobster salad or remote beach, please don’t hesitate to ask us. We will gladly offer up all our favorites. (The Juice Bar makes the best hot fudge & homemade ice cream in the universe.)

Lastly, if you can’t bear the thought of leaving your beloved pup behind, drop us a line. Nantucket is a paradise for dogs as they can free-range on most of the beaches and conservation land trails. Moonrakers’ mascots Picnic and Tiki completely concur.

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