Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Nantucket, Massachusetts
Built in 1785


Located on the extreme northeastern tip of Nantucket, in the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge. Public access to the tower and surrounding grounds is allowed from the park's Rangers on many of their tours during the summer months.

Latitude: 41° 23' 25" N
Longitude: 70° 02' 54" W

Historic Stories:

Great Point Light (also known as Nantucket Light) was built in 1785, to help mariners navigate the passage between Great Point on Nantucket Island and Monomoy Island at Cape Cod. The lighthouse sits several miles up a thin area of beach. When the lighthouse was first built, there was not a keeper’s house built with it for many years until 1825. This forced the early keepers to either walk or get to the station on horseback, which was a distance of seven miles, or they had to use a boat to arrive at Brant Point to get food and supplies. One Keeper, Jonathan Coffin, petitioned directly to the Secretary of the Treasury, and was allowed additional "hardship pay" for making the 7-mile journey

The original tower was destroyed by fire in 1816, a new stone tower was built in 1818, and in 1857 the lighthouse was furnished with a Fresnel lens and an Assistant Keeper's building.

Between 1863 and 1890 there were 43 wrecks near the lighthouse due many believe, to confusion with the Cross Rip Lightship nearby.

On September 23, 1931, Keeper Chase and Assistant Keeper Walsh at Great Point saved the crew of the fishing schooner Elizabeth Foley when the vessel caught fire two miles from the light.

In March 1984, a severe storm destroyed the 1818 constructed lighthouse. In 1986 with the help of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, enough federal money was set aside for the building of a new Great Point Lighthouse, 300 yards west of the site of the old tower.

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