Great Point Light on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, USA
© Cate Brown/Cavan Image
Shedding light on Nantucket. There was a lighthouse from Nantucket…
This historic lighthouse can be found at the northernmost tip of the picturesque US island of Nantucket, off the coast of Massachusetts. Great Point Light has been warning sailors of dangers along its shores since 1784, back when Nantucket was known as a centre of the American whaling industry.
Moby Dick author Herman Melville wrote that Nantucket whalers once controlled two-thirds of the world's waters. But to get home, all those Nantucket whaling ships had to navigate the perilous shoals between the island's north shore and nearby Cape Cod. A lighthouse was the solution, the first one was a wooden tower, that burned in 1816. Then a stone version was built, but that was toppled by a storm in 1984. The current structure, built partly with materials from the previous one, was dedicated in 1986 and has been in official operation since then.
In case you are wondering about the name – which features in many a bawdy limerick – it means “faraway land”, or possibly “'sandy, sterile soil tempting no-one” in the language of its native inhabitants, the Wampanoag.