We photographed “Slip Slidin’ Away” in June of 2013 from below the bluff, not entirely sure of which house it was as seen from Baxter Road. It’s now evident that the house is being prepared for a move immediately adjacent to its current site. At first glance it’s not clear what is to be gained by the lateral move, but looking from above and below shows that the bank has eroded considerably more where the house sits now than the short way toward the lighthouse. There are heavier clay deposits near the new site which probably contribute to the slower decay there. Looking at the stakes marking the new excavation, it can be seen that the house will sit approximately 14′ closer to the road in a spot that has an additional 5 or 10′ to the bluff’s edge.
A collection of railings and trellis sits on the edge of the property, waiting for the house to follow.
We took an after hours trip to Baxter road to see if Twin Chimney or House of Cards had moved any since yesterday. Twin Chimney is still up on the edge of the bluff, waiting for the completion of the excavation, while House of Cards is poised over its new location in anticipation of its foundation.
We have been following the move of several houses on the bluff. There is little room left between the edge and Baxter Road for any house north of Bayberry Ln.. We had a cold, blustery outing today and were joined again by Frederick G.S. Clow. Fred’s information about the bluff and it’s past has been enlightening.
Acclaimed photographer Frederick G.S. Clow joined us for a look at the conditions along the Sankaty Bluff where four houses are being moved away from the edge. In Fred’s long career he has photographed many of the leading figures of the 20th century, including Winston Churchill, Harry Truman, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King and John, Robert and Ted Kennedy. Today the movers and shakers we recorded were Toscana and Atlantic Aeolus, experienced house movers here on Nantucket.
Fred is remarkably busy at 82 years of age, putting together a book of his work, overseeing the display of his work in several locations in Boston and shooting for the Mission Hill Gazette.
True to form, Fred finds the shot.
Like many who have not visited the bluff for several seasons, Fred was surprised at the extent of the erosion damage, remembering how far out the edge was not so long ago.
Looking toward the Sankaty Lighthouse, Fred wonders about the fate of several houses not currently preparing for moves.
Recording it today to remember it tomorrow.
We look down the bluff to marvel at a long set of stairs rebuilt this past spring to restore access to the beach.
The condition of the Sankaty Bluff has reached a critical point that demands either the moving or the loss of houses toward its north end. The focal point of the current efforts is Twin Chimney and the adjoining properties where three houses are being readied to move a scant few feet toward Baxter Road. The foundation for a fourth house nearer Sankaty Light is nearly complete and it appears that other houses are in the early stages of preparation. The future of all depend on a successful strategy to stabilize the bluff and all are gambling that such a strategy is possible and that it can be implemented soon enough to make today’s investments worthwhile.
I discovered that our blog had been deleted. Not sure how that happened but I did have a backup that restored everything but the last post. If you discover any glitches, please let me know.
The skies seen from the Nantucket Serengeti are always incredible.
We recently updated our architectural photography site. It is a completely new design with expanded galleries. Please have a look and pass on the link to anyone who might use our photography services.
The difficulties of home ownership on Baxter Road are well documented, but there are other stories being told at Sankaty; ones of creation long before the current destruction, ones of great movement of the foundation of our island before the moving of summer houses, ones of marine life 100,000 years before seaside holidays.
Over the last several years, Sankaty has been revealing itself in a remarkable display of color and texture unexpected in a world of sand and scrub. Iron ore, gray, yellow, red and blue clay, fossilized shells and stones are mixed together in some places and held separate in others by the unimaginable force of the glacier that formed the island.
Many of the revelations come after storms. Most are soon covered again by blowing sand or cascading earth. What we have recorded here is no longer visible, but it’s certain that much more will be revealed.
We recently completed a commission to photograph a Nantucket estate, showing the four seasons. Please contact us if you would like to have photographs of your property. Here is one of the photos – the owners permitted us to use it to illustrate the completed project.
The latest on Twin Chimney shows more edge erosion.
March 2013 -
April 2011 -
We have updated the Folios Section of our website to add our latest erosion slideshows. You can see them here -
Egan Maritime Institute used one of Dirck’s photographs for its membership brochure. The institute is Nantucket Island’s only non-profit organization devoted exclusively to celebrating Nantucket’s seafaring heritage. Egan Maritime Institute