The land on which Marine Home Center is located was originally part of the West Momomoy subdivision laid out by the proprietors in 1726. Although at the edge of the town, this area held several early houses by the 1750’s, and the Walling Map indicated scattered development along Orange Street at the site by 1834. This development included the homesteads of Benjamin Manter, mariner, and Caleb Cushman, which comprised most of the current Marine Home Center property. In 1871, the “homestead of the late Caleb Cushman” was purchased by the Burges family, who held the property into the twentieth century. In 1895, with a bicycle-racing craze hitting the island, Eugene S. Burgess constructed a quarter mile bicycle racetrack known as Centennial Park Bicycle Track on the property. According to the Inquirer and Mirror, the park also included a grandstand, tennis courts, and baseball grounds.
The success of Centennial Park appears to have been short-lived, and in 1928 Burgess sold a portion of the property to the Sears Lumber Company of Middleboro, which used the site as a lumberyard. The company had supplied building material to the island for at least a decade prior, and sold the facility to their on-island employee, Howard U. Chase, during the height of the Great Depression. Chase operated the yard as the Chase Lumber Company until 1944 when it was relocated and the property sold to the Marine Lumber Company-part of the Island Service Company, Nantucket’s main supplier of ice, lumber, coal, and fuel oil.
For much of its history, Marine was held by Walter Beinecke Jr. as part of Sherburne Associates and was managed by Albert “Bud” Egan before Egan acquired it in 1966.
Like its predecessors, Marine started out as a lumber supplier, but the firm diversified to offer a host of products and services. Over the years, Marine opened a garden center, a home center, and a modern department store on island. This expansion offered customers the opportunity to shop for not only building supplies and home and garden products, but also specialty items. A wine and cheese shop, hairdresser, and high-end dress shop were among its departments. Expansion began in the 1950’s with the addition of a downtown hardware and appliance store and a flower shop along Petticoat Row. In addition, the lumber division expanded by building panelized homes such as those found today along Goldstar Drive. The original site also grew to house these new services and include the purchase of the former Colonial Craft Shop-a millwork shop-located just east of the lumberyard. In 1966 a new building with large display windows was constructed to display its products and many services. In 1973, the company changed its name to Marine Home Center, and in the 1980’s it expanded across Orange Street where its appliance sales are located.