Exploring Nantucket: The Brant Point Lighthouse

Today’s Nantucket destination is perhaps the unluckiest spot of real estate on the island, the Brant Point lighthouse. If not for the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, this poor lighthouse might have been the oldest on Nantucket. 


The whaling industry on Nantucket was booming by the mid 1700’s. In order to improve safety for ships sailing into the inner harbor, a lighthouse was proposed in 1746 and built soon thereafter for the princely sum of 200 British pounds.

Eleven years later, that structure burned down in what was suspected to be an oil fire.

A second light was built to replace the first. It was destroyed in a storm (most likely a tornado) in March of 1774.

Undaunted, the residents built a third light on the spot. It burned down in 1783. At this point, they probably should have checked the maps to make sure it wasn’t built on an ancient burial ground.

Clearly, patience with this patch of land was running thin. The next light to be erected was basically just a lamp hoisted between two spars. Minimalist design notwithstanding, it managed to burn down as well in 1786.

Another lighthouse was built, lasting a whopping two years before – wait for it – it was blown down by a storm. You thought I was going to say fire, didn’t you?

In 1788, the stalwart people of Nantucket put up yet another lighthouse, which was ceded to the federal government in 1795. It was extinguished in the war of 1812.

Owing to the increase in commerce, a new light was called for by the early 1800’s. A tower was erected in 1825 atop the keeper’s house at a cost of $1600. By 1838, however, it was found to already be in poor repair. By 1843, it was a rickety, leaking mess.

The station was rebuilt in 1856, this time for $15,000. Lessons from the past must have factored heavily in its design, as the result was a 47-foot brick tower, alongside a new keeper’s house. This complex, minus the lamp house, is still standing today as part of the US Coast Guard Brant Point station.

Changes in the channel necessitated retiring the 1856 station in 1900, and it was replaced for a short time by the tried and true lamp on a pole. Finally, the attractive little lighthouse you’ll find at the point today was constructed in 1901. There must be something magic about this particular design (knock on wood), because it seems to have a longevity its predecessors lacked. It’s more than just a pretty landmark – it’s a survivor.


The plucky little Brant Point light is part of our new Nantucket Island scenery for Microsoft Flight Simulator X (and Steam Edition), and Lockheed Martin Prepar3D v.3. Find out more on the main product page.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • dexthom

    February 20, 2017, 7:30 am

    Those folks should never play the lottery!

    • iBlueYonder

      February 20, 2017, 7:48 am


  • Michael Copp

    February 20, 2017, 8:43 am

    • iBlueYonder

      February 20, 2017, 9:21 am