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Friday, July 10, 2009

Brant Point Lighthouse - Nantucket, Mass.

Here is Brant Point Lighthouse on Nantucket, America’s second oldest lighthouse after Boston Light. The structure pictured here, built in 1900, was the ninth lighthouse in this location since the 1700s. Lots of storms out that way destroyed the earlier lighthouses. A few fires, too.

When the first lighthouse was built, the town was called Sherburne, and a young whaling industry made the remote town a busy place. Brant Point was chosen for a lighthouse to mark the point all vessels would pass to enter the inner harbor.

In September 1781, Loyalist privateers entered Nantucket Harbor for other reasons, and American forces from Cape Cod arrived to set up cannons at Brant Point. They fired on the enemy ships and forced them out of the harbor.

The sixth lighthouse to stand here, built by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1788, was ceded to the federal government in 1795, when the town changed its name from Sherburne to Nantucket. This light went dark for the War of 1812.

By the 1820s, whaling was a huge industry here, and new lighthouse was built in 1825. This lighthouse still stands, west of the present Brant Point Light, part of U.S. Coast Guard Station Brant Point.

The current Brant Point Light was built 596 feet east of the previous one in 1901. It was automated in 1965. In 1983, the Brant Point Station was renovated by the Coast Guard. Brant Point Light's occulting red light is 26 feet above sea level, one of the lowest of New England's lights. You will see it as your ferry rounds the point to enter the harbor.

As noted in this previous post, the Brant Point Lighthouse was used as a model for the Mystic Seaport Lighthouse.

For more information on the Brant Point Lighthouse, have a look at this website, and this one.

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