The Ghosts of the George C. Gardner House

Posted by dev_admin in Ghosts of Nantucket

The ghosts of the George C. Gardner House may not appreciate these recent updates.

Now beautifully restored, this once dilapidated home was once ready for demolition. The place has a rich and spooky history. From a bitter divorce to the ghosts of the George C. Gardner House, it’s been the talk of the town for a while.

Some say the house sitting at 141 Main Street is filled with bad luck for anyone who owns it. Other locals on the structure’s beauty.

While the home is not currently on the market, it boasts an eight million dollar price tag. That’s how much the home was reportedly for sale for the last time it was available. That sales price was one reason why there was renewed interest in the house over the previous two decades.

In an area where many wealthier folks have summer homes, that’s probably not as hefty a paycheck as some would think. The 5,580 square foot home comes filled with seven bedrooms and ten bathrooms, perfect for even a larger family.

The Origins of the George C. Gardner House

The house’s history began in 1834. That is the year when George C. Gardner asked his father-in-law to build a home for him and his wife, Delia. Gardner wanted something “fashionable” at the time, and the house John Bowman Coleman built is still a beautiful work of art. Though not that long ago, it looked much more like an actual haunted house.

Gardner was a farmer, having left his life as a merchant for a more humble existence. From a drive-by view of the front of the house, it doesn’t look all that big, but the square footage and the number of bedrooms tell a very different story.

Gardner lived in that same house for the rest of his life. The home stayed in the family for multiple generations, possibly ending with his grandchildren. In 1926, the George C. Gardner house was on the auction block and went for barely over $3k, which seems little to nothing compared to its current worth.

The house has had an interesting history, going through many different hands between that auction and its current ownership. For some time, the Gardner house was an investment property. A few different families have called the place their home, aside from the Gardners. It was even used as a summer party place.

The Bitter Divorce

In 1991, Thierry de Ganay and his wife Dee purchased the home, though it was already in need of some work. It was during the de Ganays time in the house that the story of the Gardner House starts to get interesting. Thierry de Ganay was a film mogul and count from France, and his wife was an American.

When they purchased the George C. Gardner house, the couple had agreed that they would fix it up. Once they moved in, the home continued to deteriorate. Along with the house, their marriage also started to fall apart.

Mrs. de Ganay wished to fix the home up, but her husband refused to fund the project. Mr. de Ganay’s refusal to go along with plans for renovations caused the couple to argue. The rift between the two would continue to grow the longer the home repairs went ignored.

Mrs. de Ganay was under the impression that they would be restoring the home when they moved in. Mr. de Ganay, as the story goes, had agreed to fund the renovations on the house when they decided to buy the home.

The New York Times got statements from both of them in 2001 in an attempt to find out what really happened and settle some of the rumors about this cursed home. According to the former Mrs. de Ganay, when they agreed to buy the house, her husband said he would pay to fix it. They chose a place in Nantucket because Mrs. de Ganay had vacationed there often since childhood.

Even after the house was no longer in the now divorced de Ganay’s hands, they were still not on the same page when it came to what to do with the place. They couldn’t agree on what had happened with their dilapidated former home – how it ended up in such bad repair. There was no reason given for the lack of repairs to the house as it slowly slipped into almost impossible repair or their failing marriage.

Two years into the ownership of the home, in 1993, Mr. de Ganay was still refusing to move forward with any restorations. He wouldn’t even put a new roof on the shabby home. His wife had all of the plans together and had already hired an architect out of New York to do the work.

In her statement, Mrs. de Ganay said it was at this time that she found out that the home was owned by her husband’s Dutch holding corporation rather than himself as an individual. To Mrs. de Ganay’s dismay, this revelation meant that she was not even a partial owner of the home they’d agreed to own together.

Mrs. de Ganay was shocked, and this knowledge offered just one more nail in the coffin of their marriage. By the following year, 1994, the couple was separated. At the time of the Times interview, there was a custody battle and property battle still making its way through the court proceedings.

Mr. de Ganay, who refused to speak for himself to The New York Times, had the property trustee at the time, Fredric M. Sanders, speak on his behalf on the phone. Mr. de Ganay listened in silence. Really all that was divulged during that part of the story was that the reason the now empty house was still sitting in shambles in 2001 was that the trust didn’t have the money available to do anything to fix it up. Even if restoring even some of the home would mean being able to open it up as a profitable rental. To that, in her written statement, the former wife said that her ex is a wealthy man and could afford to fix the home up if he chose to.

And, because no one did any repairs to it, in the early 2000s, the home risked condemning and demolition. Because of the heated battle between husband and wife, rumors started to fly about the home. These rumors included stories about the George C. Gardner house being both haunted and cursed.

Ghost tours passed by the home, telling tales of the ghosts inside. When the home finally underwent a renovation in 2005, locals wondered if the work being done on the house would wake up even more spirits.

The Ghosts of the George C. Gardner House

Unlike many of the ghost stories you find on haunted tours and blogs about the paranormal, the ghosts of the George C. Gardner House don’t have any names. Perhaps Gardner or some of his kin are still in the home, or maybe it’s the negative energy from the bitter fighting of the de Ganay’s that left residual ghostly energy in the home.

If anger and turmoil are a couple of the things that stir up poltergeist energy in homes, it’s possible that one of the reports could have to do with the battling de Ganay’s. One of the stories that has been spread around is that silverware tend to rattle around on their own and move around in the home. The moving silverware happens most often during dinner parties. Who isn’t annoyed when they reach for the spoon, and a feisty ghost has moved it across the room?

It has also been reported that footsteps are sometimes heard in the home. These disembodied sounds seem to happen most often at night when all are in bed and cozy. While poltergeists can make all sorts of sounds, perhaps the footsteps are of a previous but now deceased tenant of the home checking to ensure everything is in order.

Whether the ghosts within the George C. Gardner house were made up to make a broken-down old home look more exciting, or people actually did hear strange footsteps during the night and saw silverware moving around, the house still has an interesting story to tell. While there is only one story of a couple being torn apart because of ownership of this home, its reputation of being cursed to couples is still a story told to visitors strolling or driving by the proper white house on Main Street.

Sources:

https://ghostsofnantucket.com/2021/04/29/top-10-haunted-places-in-nantucket/

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/141-Main-St-Nantucket-MA-02554/56543236_zpid/

https://www.instagram.com/p/CLFQjEgDCBY/

https://www.capecodtimes.com/article/20050814/NEWS01/308149962

https://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/18/us/a-real-estate-mystery-on-proper-nantucket.html

https://archive.curbed.com/2014/10/30/10029222/nantuckets-once-haunted-gardner-house-now-wants-95m

https://ghostsofnantucket.com/2021/04/29/top-10-haunted-places-in-nantucket/