About This Location
Brant Point Lighthouse: Guiding Mariners to Nantucket's Shores
Brant Point Lighthouse, a cherished sentinel on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts, stands as both a historic monument and a welcoming beacon for travelers. Nestled amid the treacherous sandbars that have caused hundreds of shipwrecks over the centuries, this lighthouse is a testament to both Nantucket's maritime history and its enduring commitment to safety.
A Navigational Beacon Born of Necessity
Established in 1746, Brant Point Lighthouse has long played a vital role in guiding mariners safely around the formidable Brant Point. The labyrinthine sandbars beneath the island's waters posed a constant threat to seafarers. For those arriving on Nantucket via ferry, this lighthouse stands as the island's iconic wooden welcome.
Remarkably, Brant Point Lighthouse was the second lighthouse established in the United States, following Boston Lighthouse, which was lit in 1716. Over the years, the lighthouse towers at Brant Point have been repeatedly replaced due to various challenges such as condemnation, erosion, rot, and even fire. The current tower, is the 10th tower on Brant Point.
A Tower of Resilience
The current conical tower, a testament to endurance, was erected in 1901. Standing at a height of 26 feet, it is constructed from wood, with a pristine white exterior and a striking black lantern. Illuminating the night is a fifth-order Fresnel lens that emits a red light occluding every 4 seconds. These red beams serve as a navigational lifeline, visible for an impressive 10 nautical miles. Automation brought modernization to the lighthouse in 1965, yet it still faithfully performs its duty.
A Legacy Honored
The historical significance of Brant Point Lighthouse earned it a well-deserved spot on the National Register of Historic Places on October 28, 1987. This recognition celebrates the lighthouse's enduring role in maritime history and its contribution to the safety of countless mariners. Its reference number, 87002029, stands as a testament to its legacy.
The lighthouse is currently owned, operated, and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. It is an active aid for navigation, so the tower is not open to the public. That said, visitors are welcome to walk right up to the tower and explore all around it.
Seeking the Lighthouse
For visitors arriving by car, there is no designated parking area for Brant Point Lighthouse. Most lighthouse enthusiasts opt to take a leisurely stroll from downtown Nantucket. However, for those who prefer driving, limited parking spaces can be found along Easton Street, just a few hundred yards from the lighthouse. Parking along Easton Street is not only convenient but also free, although it's essential to adhere to all posted regulations.
In 1966, recognizing the immense historical significance of Brant Point Lighthouse, an exact replica was constructed for the Mystic Seaport in Connecticut, aptly named the Mystic Seaport Light. This serves as a testament to the enduring importance and legacy of this remarkable maritime icon.