Preserving Nathan’s local heritage at DCA

Submitted to Dorchester Banner/DCA
Former Nathan’s Furniture Store, home of Dorchester Center for the Arts.

Dorchester Center for the Arts is located at 321 High St., in the historic Nathan’s Furniture Store. This is just one building in the former Nathan complex on High Street.

Meyer Nathan, who founded the family business, established his first store in Cambridge in 1880. The original building was a two-and-a-half story Georgian structure that burned down in the 1892 fire on High Street.
The buildings at 315 and 317 High St. are currently the oldest buildings of those newly constructed after the fire. Meyer Nathan died in 1911, with the store going to his son Milford.

In 1914, Milford Nathan opened a branch in Seaford, Delaware, followed by a store in Salisbury in 1922. By the early 1950’s, Nathan’s had seven stores on the Delmarva Peninsula.
The Nathan Foundation was formed after Milford’s death in 1953, with later contributions coming from the estates of Milford’s wife Estelle and his sister Bertha. The Nathan Foundation continues to greatly enrich Delmarva today.
The Skipjack Nathan, which celebrates the maritime history of Dorchester, was named for the Foundation after they provided major funding for the construction. The Nathan Foundation generously supports the Dorchester Center for the Arts Showcase, the annual art walk and street festival held on High Street each September.

DCA renovated the 17,000 square-foot space to serve the community with classrooms, galleries, an artisans’ gift shop, performing arts space and a reception area for special events. And while the Nathan’s sign is gone, giving way to the Dorchester Center for the Arts, visitors will still see the words “FURNITURE STORES” gracing the art deco storefront. DCA is proud to be a part of preserving Dorchester history.

Dorchester Center for the Arts is dedicated to enriching Maryland’s Eastern Shore community through high quality, engaging programming in the visual, literary, musical, and performing arts. As the designated County Arts Council for Dorchester, DCA is committed to increasing access to the arts for all members of our community by supporting extensive outreach and educational opportunities in the arts.

DCA is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For virtual programming, please visit online at www.dorchesterarts.org and on YouTube. Follow us on Facebook! Programs at DCA are supported by the Maryland State Arts Council.