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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sankaty Lighthouse - Nantucket, Massachusetts

Here is Sankaty Head Light, on eastern end of Nantucket. Almost three years ago, it was moved back 405 feet from the eroding edge of the cliff on which it stood for nearly 150 years.

Built in 1850, the brick and granite Sankaty lighthouse (pronounced “sank-ity) was constructed in the village of Siasconset (pronounced “sconsit”), to serve a most perilous stretch of water, where numerous wrecks occurred off Nantucket. It was reportedly the first lighthouse in the U.S. with a Fresnel lens, brought from Paris, and was in its day the most powerful light in New England.

It was converted to electricity in 1933, and the original Fresnel lens removed in 1950, replaced by a modern beacon. (See the original lens on display at the Nantucket Whaling Museum). The light was automated in 1965.

Safely pushed back from the edge of oblivion, now at 250 feet away from the bluff and rather close to the fifth hole at the Sankaty Golf Course, the lighthouse remains an important part of the community, especially to those devoted volunteers who raised money to see their lighthouse safe.

For more information on Sankaty Head Light, have a look here.

And also for more history of this lighthouse, with some great stories about the lighthouse keepers, and a lighthouse ghost, have a look at this website.

This site provides information on the moving of the lighthouse, and also offers a book on the subject.

Note: The photo above was taken when the lighthouse was in its original location, before the move.

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