Falmouth Field Guide

23 Market Street

The two story masonry building which currently houses the Club Nazz Disco and Restaurant is among Falmouth’s more imposing and intriguing structures. The lot on which this building stands was bought by Archibald Galbraith, a carpenter, and James Somervail, a butcher, from Edward Barrett in 1776, early in Falmouth’s development. Evidence suggests this building was built c. 1825, most likely by a subsequent owner. The Club Nazz building appears in an 1844 lithograph by Adolphe Duperly. This hand-tinted illustration depicts approximately half the building’s front façade in the foreground from an oblique angle. Clad in whitish-grey stucco, it appears taller and more massive than its frame neighbors, and bears no signs or other visual suggestions of its use.

The building as it exists today appears much as it did in Duperly’s image. Its exterior walls are stucco-covered brick; a modern photograph showed exposed brickwork where the cornice separated from the front facade. On the upper story, the walls are approximately one foot, three inches thick, too thick to be a nogged frame. Duperly’s image shows a portion of the building’s colonnade of six substantial masonry Tuscan columns beneath a protruding upper story. The bulk and diameter of these columns contrast markedly with the spindly turned wood columns that support the upper stories of the building’s frame neighbors. They are spaced symmetrically in groups of three at either end of the first floor, with a wider space separating the innermost columns. Duperly’s image depicts this central gap, which suggests a central entrance to this commercial building.

The lower story façade is roughly symmetrical. Framed by the middle and innermost column of each set of three columns is a pair of matching doors each with twelve lights and a rectangular panel below. Today, the central space framed by the innermost columns is filled by three asymmetrically-placed sash windows, which may reflect changes of an unknown date.

The building’s protruding upper story façade is more rigidly symmetrical. It consists of six bays in a fenestration pattern of A-AA-A A-AA-A, with doubled six over six sash windows flanked by single, conventional six over six windows. According to the Duperly view, the doubled windows were originally triple sash, running floor to ceiling with six lights per sash.

In 2007 the interior of this building was substantially renovated without documentation; the original layout must be inferred through clues from the exterior. One theory is that the strong axiality of the façade suggested an arrangement of two three-room apartments separated by a central partition. Another theory is that the upstairs was intended as a single residence, with four side rooms, the two at the rear slightly larger than those at the front, with a large central room more than 18 feet wide and 39 feet deep. The former is what the fenestration suggests, while the latter seems more logical, although this plan differs significantly from others observed in Falmouth.

The second story is covered by two hipped roofs running parallel to the front façade. An external staircase on the right side of the building now provides access to the upper story; there is no indication of the original method of access. Structurally, the building receives support from piers about 1 foot thick at its corners, as well as at the corners of the second story rooms. Tray ceilings span the upper rooms; although no original fabric survives, their placement on the support piers suggests they are original.