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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Town & County of Nantucket, Massachusetts
—  Town  —

Location in Nantucket County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 41°17′00″N 70°06′00″W / 41.2833333°N 70.1°W / 41.2833333; -70.1
Country United States
State Massachusetts
Settled 1641
Incorporated 1671
 - Type Open town meeting
 - Total 105.3 sq mi (272.6 km2)
 - Land 47.8 sq mi (123.8 km2)
 - Water 57.5 sq mi (148.8 km2)
Elevation 30 ft (9 m)
Population (2007)
 - Total 10,531
 Density 220.3/sq mi (85.1/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 02554
Area code(s) 508 / 774
FIPS code 25-43790
GNIS feature ID 0619376

Nantucket is an island 30 miles (48.3 km) south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in the United States. Together with the small islands of Tuckernuck and Muskeget, it constitutes the town of Nantucket, Massachusetts, and the coterminous Nantucket County, which are consolidated. Part of the town is designated the Nantucket CDP, or census designated place. The region of Surfside on Nantucket is the southernmost settlement in Massachusetts.

Nantucket is a tourist destination and summer colony. The population of the island soars from approximately 10,000 to 50,000[1] during the summer months, due to tourists and summer residents. According to Forbes Magazine, in 2006, Nantucket had the highest median property value of any Massachusetts zip code.[2]

The Nantucket Historic District, comprising all of Nantucket Island, was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 13, 1966. In doing so the National Park Service paid particular note to the settlements of Nantucket and Siasconset. The island features one of the highest concentrations of pre-Civil War structures in the United States.


Origin of the name

Also nicknamed "The Grey Lady" due to occasional intense fog, Nantucket takes its name from a word in an Eastern Algonquian language of southern New England, originally spelled variously as natocke, nantaticut, nantican, and nautican. The meaning of the term is uncertain, though it may have meant "in the midst of waters," or "far away island."[3]

Other sources state the Native American word "Natockete," meaning "faraway land," to be Nantucket's namesake. The Wampanoag Native Americans referred to the island as "Canopache," or "place of peace."


1870s street scene on Nantucket.


The island's beginnings in western history can possibly be traced to its conjectured sighting by Norsemen in the 11th century. But it was not until 1602 that Captain Bartholomew Gosnold of Falmouth, England sailed his bark Concord past the bluffs of Siasconset and really put Nantucket on the map. The island's original inhabitants, the Wampanoag Indians, lived undisturbed until 1641 when the island was deeded by the English (the authorities in control of all land from the coast of Maine to New York) to Thomas Mayhew and his son, merchants of Watertown and Martha's Vineyard. Nantucket was part of Dukes County, New York until 1691, when it was transferred to the newly formed Province of Massachusetts Bay and split off to form Nantucket County. The entire area of the New York county had been purchased by Thomas Mayhew Sr. of Watertown, Massachusetts, in 1641, buying out competing land claims. The earliest English settlement in the area began on neighboring island Martha's Vineyard.

As Europeans began to settle Cape Cod, the island became a place of refuge for regional Indians, as Nantucket was not yet settled by Europeans. The growing population of Native Americans welcomed seasonal groups of Indians who traveled to the island to fish and later harvest whales that washed up on shore.

English settlement and the history of whaling in Nantucket

Great Point Lighthouse

The history of Nantucket's settlement by the English did not began in earnest until 1659, when Thomas Mayhew sold his interest to the "nine original porchasers," Tristram Coffin, Thomas Macy, Christopher Hussey, Richard Swayne, Thomas Barnard, Peter Coffin, Stephen Greenleafe, John Swayne and William Pike, "for the sum of thirty Pounds...and also two beaver hats, one for myself, and one for my wife." Seamen and tradesmen began to populate Nantucket, such as Richard Gardner son of Thomas Gardner (planter) who moved there from Salem in 1667. [4]

Nantucket was formerly the world's leading whaling port[5] (and still serves as home port for a small fishing industry). Herman Melville comments on Nantucket's whaling dominance in Moby Dick, Chapter 14: "Two thirds of this terraqueous globe are the Nantucketer's. For the sea is his; he owns it, as Emperors own empires." Melville's character Starbuck is from Nantucket.

Whale weathervane atop the Nantucket Historical Association Whaling Museum

In his 1835 history of Nantucket Island, Obed Macy wrote that in the early pre-1672 colony a whale of the kind called "scragg" entered the harbor and was pursued and killed by the settlers.[6] This event started the Nantucket whaling industry. A. B. Van Deinse points out that the "scrag whale", described by P. Dudley in 1725 as one of the species hunted by the early New England whalers, was almost certainly the Gray Whale which has flourished on the West Coast of North America with protection from whaling.[7][8]

By 1850, whaling was in decline and the island suffered great economic hardships, worsened by the 1846 "Great Fire" that, fueled by whale oil and lumber, devastated the main town, burning some 36 acres[citation needed]. It left hundreds homeless and poverty stricken, and many people left the island. Another contributor to the decline was the silting up of the harbor which prevented the large whaling ships from entering and leaving the port. In addition, the development of railroads made mainland whaling ports more attractive because of the ease of transshipment of whale oil onto trains, an advantage unavailable to an island.

Later history

As a result of this depopulation, the island was left under-developed and isolated until the mid-20th century. The isolation kept many of the pre-Civil War buildings intact and by the 1950s, enterprising developers began buying up large sections of the island and restoring them to create an upmarket destination for the wealthy in the Northeastern United States. This highly controlled development can be compared to neighboring Martha's Vineyard, the development of which served as a model for what the Nantucket developers wanted to avoid.

In the 1960s Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard considered seceding from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.[9] In 1977, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard actually attempted (unsuccessfully) to secede from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The secession vote was sparked by a proposed change to the Massachusetts Constitution, which reduced the islands' representation in the Massachusetts General Court.

Geology and geography

NASA satellite Image of Nantucket Island

Nantucket was formed by the uttermost reach of the Laurentide Ice Sheet during the recent Wisconsin Glaciation, shaped by the subsequent rise in sea level. The island's low ridge across the northern section was deposited as glacial moraine during a period of glacial standstill, a period during which till continued to arrive, but melted at a stationary front. The southern part of the island is an outwash plain, sloping away from the arc of moraine and shaped at its margins by the sorting actions and transport of longshore drift. Nantucket became an island when rising sea levels reflooded Buzzards Bay about 5,000–6,000 years ago.[10]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Nantucket County has a total area of 303.5 sq mi (786 km2), 84.25% of which is water. The area of Nantucket Island proper is 47.8 sq mi(123.8 km2). The triangular region of ocean between Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod, is Nantucket Sound. The highest point on the island is Folger Hill which stands 109 feet (33 m) above sea level. Altar Rock is a close second at a height of 108 feet (33 m) above sea level.

The entire island, as well as the adjoining islands of Tuckernuck and Muskeget, comprise both the Town of Nantucket and the County of Nantucket. The main settlement, also called Nantucket, is located at the western end of Nantucket Harbor, where it opens into Nantucket Sound. Key localities on the island include Madaket, Surfside, Polpis, Wauwinet, Massachusetts, Miacomet and Siasconset (often abbreviated as 'Sconset).

National protected area


Coatue is a long barrier beach on Nantucket Island, separating Nantucket Sound from Nantucket Harbor. It has six points: First Point is situated due north of the village of Shimmo's Pimneys Point. Second Point, is north-northeast of the village of Shawkemo. Second Point is salt marsh. Third Point is due north of the Pocomo Peninsula, which contains the villages of Pocomo and West Wauwinet. The gap between Coatue and Pocomo is called the Wauwinet Straits. This deep and swift waterway has currents that reach 5 knots (9.3 km/h). Bass Point is the first point totally within Wauwinet Harbor. Wyers Point, the last point of land on Coatue, Wyers is connected to Coskata. At the head of Coatue is Coskata Pond.

Hummock Pond

Hummock Pond is a large pond on the south shore of Nantucket Island. It was created in the last ice age by the ice melt and used to be much larger, but during the blizzard of 1978 large swells from the Atlantic closed off the smaller western half, known as Clark's Cove. The pond is narrow and one of the deepest on Nantucket, and north head of the pond is connected by a small river. The north head is an extremely deep kettle hole with steep sides. The pond offers many kayaking opportunities, but is prone to strong south to southwesterly breezes.

Miacomet Pond

Miacomet Pond
Location Nantucket, Massachusetts
Coordinates 41°14′55″N 70°06′55″W / 41.24861°N 70.11528°W / 41.24861; -70.11528Coordinates: 41°14′55″N 70°06′55″W / 41.24861°N 70.11528°W / 41.24861; -70.11528
Basin countries United States
Max. depth 20 ft (6.1 m)

Miacomet Pond is a narrow, slender pond on the south shore of Nantucket Island. The pond was once a river, but the oceans rose to make Nantucket an island in the last ice age. On average the pond is approximately 100 yards (91 m) wide, thus giving the appearance of a river. The northern head of the pond is only ten feet wide and was once connected to Nantucket Harbor via Newtown Creek. The maximum depth of the pond is twenty eight feet. The southern end of the pond is a sandy beach. Occasionally the pond is opened up to the sea.

Popsquatchet Hills

The Popsquatchet Hills are a range of peaks on Nantucket Island. Seldom reaching 100 feet, they can be considered the divide of Nantucket. Prospect Hill, the westernmost, is the location of the town's municipal cemetery. Chicken Hill is the next hill to the northeast. On the eastern side of Chicken Hill, there is a very deep valley known as Dead Horse Valley. On the north face of the hill, is Colt Valley.

Mill Hill, the hill nearest Hospital Valley, has the Old Mill sitting on its summit. Roads are frequent in the hills. Prospect Street, the main thoroughfare on the west end of town, is the northern side of the hills. Vesper Lane, is the southern boundary. Milk Street, is the northern boundary of the range. There are several smaller roads leading into the hills, but some of them have grown over.

In the winter time, Dead Horse Valley is the island's best sledding area. Chicken Hill was named for an old chicken farm maintained by William G. Egan.

Squam Swamp

Squam Swamp, a large swamp in the northeastern portion of the island of Nantucket, is located between Wauwinet Road, Squam Road, and Quidnet Road, just northwest of Quidnet and northeast of Polpis Harbor.[11]


The cobblestone Main Street in historic Downtown Nantucket
There is also a census-designated place called Nantucket, with a 2000 population of 3,830, which is located within the Town of Nantucket.

As of the census[12] of 2000, there were 9,520 people, 3,699 households, and 2,104 families residing in Nantucket. The population density was 199.1 people per square mile (76.9/km2). There were 9,210 housing units at an average density of 192.6/sq mi (74.4/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 87.85% White, 8.29% Black, 0.64% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.01% Native American, 1.60% from other races, and 1.58% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.23% of the population. 19.9% were of Irish, 17.1% English, 7.2% Italian, 6.1% Portuguese, 6.0% German and 5.1% French ancestry according to Census 2000. 92.6% spoke English, 4.1% Spanish and 1.6% French as their first language.

There were 3,699 households out of which 26.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.7% were married couples living together, 8.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.1% were non-families. 29.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the town the population was spread out with 19.2% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 40.4% from 25 to 44, 22.5% from 45 to 64, and 10.5% at 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 105.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 105.0 males.

The median income for a household for year-round residents in the town is $55,522, and the median income for a family was $66,786. Males had a median income of $41,116 versus $31,608 for females. The per capita income for the town was $31,314. About 3.0% of families and 7.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.3% of those under age 18 and 7.1% of those age 65 or over.


Sankaty Head lighthouse at the eastern end of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts ca. November 2000


  • Town and county governments have been combined in Nantucket per List of counties in Massachusetts.
  • Members of the town Board of Selectmen, who are also County Commissioners, with the year their term expires, are:[13]
    • Rick Atherton (2011)
    • Brian Chadwick (2011)
    • Michael Kopko (2012)
    • Allen Reinhard (2010)
    • Patricia Roggeveen (2010)




Nantucket is served by Nantucket Public Schools. The Nantucket school system has approximately 1,200 students, about 400 of whom attend the high school.

Schools include:

  • Lighthouse School (Not Public)
  • Nantucket New School (Not Public)
  • Nantucket Elementary School (Public)
  • Cyrus Peirce Middle School (Public)
  • Nantucket High School
  • Nantucket Community School (Public, Extracurricular)

See more from Nantucket Public Schools[14] from Plum TV on Nantucket.

A major museum association, the Maria Mitchell Association, offers educational programs to the Nantucket Public Schools.


Nantucket is served by Nantucket Memorial Airport, a three-runway airport on the south side of the island. The airport is one of the busiest in the Commonwealth and often logs more take-offs and landings on a pleasant summer day than Boston's Logan airport. This is due in part to the large number of private/corporate planes used by wealthy summer inhabitants, and in part to the 10-seat Cessna 402s used by several commercial air carriers to serve the island community. The airport is currently undergoing an expansion.[citation needed]

Nantucket Regional Transit Authority (NRTA) operates seasonal island-wide shuttle buses to many destinations including Surfside Beach, Sconset, and the airport.

Nantucket can be reached by sea from the mainland by using one of three commercial ferry services or by private boat.[15]

Historically, Nantucket was served by the narrow-gauge Nantucket Railroad. There is not a single traffic light on the Island of Nantucket (except for the one in the car wash), and cars were not permitted on the Island until 1918.[citation needed]


The Argo Merchant ran aground on December 15, 1976. A silvery oil slick can be seen coming from the center holds.

Major disasters on or near Nantucket, include:

  • On July 25, 1956, 51 people were killed in the collision of the Italian ocean liner SS Andrea Doria with the MS Stockholm in heavy fog 45 miles (72 km) south of Nantucket.
  • On December 15, 1976, the oil tanker Argo Merchant ran aground southeast of Nantucket. Six days later, on December 21, the shipwreck broke apart, causing one of the largest oil spills in history.
  • On October 31, 1999, EgyptAir Flight 990, traveling from New York City to Cairo, crashed off the coast of Nantucket, killing all 217 on board.

National Register of Historic Places

Brant Point Light in Nantucket Harbor

The following Nantucket places are listed on the National Register of Historic Places;[16] and the List of Registered Historic Places in Nantucket County, Massachusetts:

  • Nantucket Light (added 1982 - Structure #82005272) Also known as Great Point Light; Located at Sandy Point, Nantucket Island, Nantucket. Built in 1784, the original wooden tower was destroyed by fire in 1816. The following year, 1817, a stone tower was erected which stood until toppled in a storm in March, 1984. This second tower was what was listed on the National Register. In 1986, a new stone tower was built to replicate the old one. This third tower remains in operation today.

Notable residents

17th, 18th & 19th centuries

  • Abiah Folger, Benjamin Franklin's mother, was born on Nantucket. Her birthsite is marked by a plaque and is known to locals as "The Bench." In 2002 Nantucket High School seniors staged a celebration of her birth at the site—a tradition which has continued every year since.
  • Absalom Boston, the first African American to serve as captain of a whaling ship with an all-black crew.
  • John B. Macy, U.S. Representative from Wisconsin, was among the victims who died aboard the palace steamer Niagara.
  • Lucretia Coffin Mott was born in 1793 on Nantucket. Mott was an American Quaker minister, abolitionist, social reformer, and proponent of women's rights. She is credited as the first American "feminist" in the early 1800s but was, more accurately, the initiator of women's political advocacy.
  • Maria Mitchell, native of Nantucket, first American female professional astronomer and a Vassar professor (of astronomy) is buried in Prospect Hill.
  • Cyrus Peirce, first principal of Nantucket High School and later first president of what is now Framingham State College, married Nantucket native, Harriet Coffin. They are both buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery. Cyrus Peirce Middle School is named for him.
  • Joseph Gardner Swift, a Nantucket native, was the first graduate of the United States Military Academy; he attained the rank of Brigadier General.
  • Tristram Coffin, born in Plymouth, England around 1610, married Dionis Stevens (for whom Dionis beach is named). He is among the group who purchased the island from the Wampanoag Indians in 1659, for the sum of thirty pounds and a pair of beaver-skin hats. In 1671, Coffin was appointed Chief Magistrate of Nantucket. His stately brick mansion still stands on Upper Main Street, and many of his descendants still live on the island.

20th & 21st centuries

Nantucket Range Lights at Brant Point
  • G. Robert Ayd, former SVP of QVC owns a home on the island
  • Russell Baker, former New York Times columnist, has a summer home on the island.
  • Bill Belichick, Head coach of the New England Patriots owns several homes in 'sconset.
  • A. J. Cronin, novelist, resided on the island.
  • Kevin Flynn, comedian,actor, producer is a summer resident.
  • Bill Frist, physician, author and former Republican Tennessee Senator has a home on the Island.
  • Charles Geschke, co-founder of Adobe Systems
  • Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford have a house on the island.
  • David Halberstam, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and historian had a summer home on the island.
  • Kerry Hallam, artist of international reputation who released Nantucket Notables, a collection of watercolor sketches of Nantucket's residents, lives in a cottage off Bartlett Road.[17]
  • Stephen Maury Likes to crush beers.
  • Victor Haley, noted Atlanta real estate lawyer, has a home on the island.
  • Dorothy Hamill has a home on the island.
  • Teresa Heinz and John Kerry own a summer residence on Brant Point.
  • Tommy Hilfiger, retail giant of the eponymous clothing label, also owns a summer home on the island. The country house was featured in the MTV reality show Rich Girls, which starred his daughter Ally.
  • Judith Ivey actress, has a home in the village of Siasconset
  • Seward Johnson, sculptor, has a summer residence on Brant Point.
  • Frances Karttunen, academic linguist, historian and Mesoamericanist scholar, grew up and resides on the island
  • Frank Lorenzo, aviation pioneer, has a home on the north shore of the island.
  • Chris Matthews, NBC correspondent, has a home on the island.
  • Jim Pallotta of Tudor Investments and co-owner of the Boston Celtics has a house on Eel Point.
  • Fred Rogers, Mr. Rogers of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood (PBS television) lived in Madaket.[18]
  • Ned Rorem, Pulitzer Prize winning composer of classical music owns a home on the island.
  • Tim Russert, NBC correspondent, owned a home on the island.
  • Richard Mellon Scaife, billionaire publisher who underwrote investigations into President Bill Clinton has a home on Nantucket.
  • Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, and wife Wendy have a home on Cliff Road.
  • John Shea, actor has a home on the village of Siasconset
  • Frank Stallone, actor/musician, is currently building a multi-million dollar estate in Surfside.
  • Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara have a home at Children's Beach.
  • Louis Susman, financier of Kerry '04 and Obama '08 and U.S. Ambassador to Britain, has a home on the north shore of the island.
  • Jack Welch, retired General Electric CEO, has an estate on the east side of the island near 'Sconset.
  • Bob Wright, chairman of NBC Universal, and Suzanne Wright are founders of 'Autism Speaks' and have a home on Medouie Creek.
  • Vice President Joe Biden, celebrates his Thanksgiving Holiday on the island.

References in popular culture

Theodore Robinson painting Nantucket, 1882


  • The television series Wings was based in Nantucket.
  • This Old House devoted most of the 1996 season to a Nantucket house renovation at 3 Milk St.
  • In the Boston Legal episode "The Mighty Rogues", Nantucket engages the firm to get permission to build a nuclear bomb for self-defense.
  • In The Simpsons episode Diatribe of a Mad Housewife, Marge writes a boating novel that takes place in Nantucket.
  • The Weather Channel filmed an episode of Road Crew with Jeff Mielcarz titled Take a Seal Cruise.


  • The 1971 film Summer of '42 was set in Nantucket.
  • The 1986 Warner Brothers film One Crazy Summer, was mostly filmed and took place on the island.
  • The 1996 Columbia Pictures movie To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday was filmed and took place on Nantucket.
  • The 2004 Universal Studios movie Along Came Polly had a boating trip scene over to Nantucket.
  • The 2007 Weinstein Co movie The Nanny Diaries was partially set in Nantucket.
  • The 2007 20th Century fox film 27 Dresses had its ending filmed on Nantucket.
  • The 2009 Universal Pictures film "Inglourious Basterds" has its main antagonist state his desire to retire to Nantucket Island.


Essex (Nantucket Historical Association)
  • Nantucket is home to the mythopoeic "Man from Nantucket" made famous in the opening line of countless limericks (some of which are vulgar).
  • In Edgar Allan Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, the protagonist is from Nantucket.
  • One of Robert Lowell's most famous early poems, "The Quaker Graveyard in Nantucket," with rich allusions to whaling and death at sea, is set here.
  • One of the most famous lines from Dylan Thomas's play Under Milk Wood mentions Nantucket; "FIRST DROWNED: I lost my step in Nantucket".
  • Nathaniel Philbrick's book, In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex describes the sinking of the Essex, a ship based in Nantucket.
  • In Herman Melville's novel Moby-Dick, Nantucket is the port of departure for Ahab's whaling ship, the Pequod.
  • In the Island in the Sea of Time trilogy by S. M. Stirling, Nantucket is cast backward in time some three thousand years and eventually becomes the capital of the world-spanning Republic of Nantucket.
  • Author David Halberstam's work is celebrated locally, owing to the fact that he spent many years writing on the island.
  • The island is the setting for Joan Aiken's Night Birds on Nantucket, which borrows themes from Moby Dick.
  • Yellow Dog Nantucket is a children's book about the Yellow Dog, also known as Nantucket's Original Fog Warning.
  • Author Jane Green's novel, The Beach House, is set on Nantucket.
  • Author Sena Jeter Naslund's novel, Ahab's Wife, or The Star-Gazer, is set, in part, in Nantucket. Una, the main character, interacts with the astronomer, Maria Mitchell.
  • In the book, Gossip Girl, the Carlyles (Owen, Avery and Baby) were from Nantucket, but they later moved to New York.
  • Chapter 11 of the New York Times book Class Matters describes the spending habits, status struggles and lifestyles of the rich in Nantucket.
  • All of author Elin Hilderbrand's novels are set in Nantucket. She is a resident of Nantucket. Additionally, Nancy Thayer, another resident of Nantucket, has published three novels, The Hot Flash Club Chills Out, Moon Shell Beach and Summer House, all of which take place on Nantucket.
  • Jake Cazalet, President of the United States of America in Jack Higgins' "Edge of Danger", has a private estate on Nantucket.



  • The background of the Japanese comic Chibi-san Date by Hidekaz Himaruya, the author of Hetalia: Axis Powers, is set in Nantucket. [1] Also, the character of America in Himaruya's Hetalia: Axis Powers has a wild strand of hair that represents Nantucket.

See also


Title page of the first U.S. edition of Moby-Dick, 1851.
  • Bond, C. Lawrence, Native Names of New England Towns and Villages, privately published by C. Lawrence Bond, Topsfield, Massachusetts, 1991.
  • Philbrick, Nathaniel, In The Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, Penguin, NY, NY, 2000.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Huden, John C. (1962). Indian Place Names of New England. New York: Museum of the American Indian. Cited in: Bright, William (2004). Native American Place Names in the United States. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, pg. 312
  4. ^ Gardner, Frank A MD (1907). Thomas Gardner Planter and Some of his Descendants. Salem, MA: Essex Institute. (via Google Books)
  5. ^
  6. ^ Macy O (1835). The History of Nantucket:being a compendious account of the first settlement of the island by the English:together with the rise and progress of the whale fishery, and other historical facts relative to said island and its inhabitants:in two parts. Boston: Hilliard, Gray & Co.. ISBN 1437402232. 
  7. ^ Van Deinse, AB (1937). "Recent and older finds of the gray whale in the Atlantic". Temminckia 2: 161–188. 
  8. ^ Dudley, P (1725). "An essay upon the natural history of whales". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 33: 256–259. 
  9. ^ TIME Magazine, April 18, 1977.
  10. ^ The most recent survey of the geology of Cape Cod and the islands, accessible to the layman, is Robert N. Oldale, Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard & Nantucket: The Geologic Story, 2001.
  11. ^ Squam Swamp Interview on Nantucket Plum TV.
  12. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  13. ^ Nantucket, MA
  14. ^
  15. ^ Getting to Nantucket Island
  16. ^ National Register of Historical Places - MASSACHUSETTS (MA), Nantucket County
  17. ^
  18. ^

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Nantucket [1] is an island and town located 30 mi (48 km) off the coast of Cape Cod and part of Massachusetts. The island offers quiet harbors, dramatic cliffs, sandy beaches, beautiful old mansions and gardens, interesting history – even a series of (sometimes bawdy) limericks about its residents.


Nantucket is a small island, 3.5 by 14 miles long. It is frequented by CEOs, executives, lawyers, bankers, surgeons, and megastars--or just average folks looking for a getaway. It gives them a chance, while enjoying a few Bloody Marys on the beach, an opportunity to get away from the intense city and work atmosphere with their families and friends. They are able to enjoy many of the fine and casual dining restaurants the island has to offer. Many people come to Nantucket because they know that it is a location where five star service is quite common. Tourists are treated to the finest seafood and other cuisines. Nantucket also has some of the most exclusive golf clubs, lodges, restaurants, beaches, and homes.

While most popular in the summer, the island can be visited at any time of the year. The summer population of 55,000 residents dwindles to 12,000 during the off-season, making for a quieter visit. Be aware that smaller crowds also mean fewer services available, including more limited ferry schedules and fewer open restaurants and stores.

The local government and people of Nantucket are very environmental friendly and green conscious. There is a wonderful recycling system intact that must be followed by all visitors and residents of the island. About thirty-six percent of the island is protected and maintained by the Nantucket Conservation Foundation. Protected lands include beaches, hardwood forests, dunes, shrublands, bogs, heathlands, marshes, grasslands, meadows, and ponds. The Nantucket Conservation Foundation also works to preserve the local wildlife of the island. To see the local sea life of the Island there is an aquarium, which is open to the public for a small admission fee. Whale, seal and bird watching are three very popular past times that many locals, vacationers and their families enjoy taking part in. In the olden days, Nantucket was a great whaling center. You will find many old whaling bars on the island as well as The Whaling Museum located in town.

One factor that attracts many families to Nantucket is that it is a safe place for children to wander around on their own. Kids can ride their bikes into town with friends and grab ice cream at The Juice Bar or a bite to eat at the local Pharmacy. A lot of the restaurants on Island accommodate small children, infants and large parties, so the whole family can sit down together and enjoy a nice meal as well as night out on the town. There is also a local strip with food vendors and gift shops, which is also a local hang out stop for all ages. A few of the popular tourist recreational activities include: biking, boating, fishing and water sports, boat charters, boat rentals, boating services and supplies, fishing charters, fishing supplies, mooring rentals, regattas, surfing, festivals, museums and sites, spas and clubs, beauty, fitness, massage, tours, eco-tours, kayaking tours, van tours, walking tours, and site tours.

Since Nantucket is a huge tourist destination during the summer season an influx of workers come to the island from all over the world to seek employment for the summer with intentions of returning home at the end of the season. Business is at its all time high and workers are needed to facilitate and administer stores, restaurants, clubs, and all other amenities on the Island that attract tourists. These workers are also tourist because while working they too are experiencing Nantucket for the first time and join in on many tourist activities. Many summer workers are internationals.

Get in

Part of the island's appeal is its isolation; "Nantucket", is a Native American word that translates into "faraway island" or "land far out to sea." You can reach the island either by boat or plane. Nantucket's location near Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard lets visitors take the ferry over and spend either the day or a few nights on the Island to enjoy the sights, food and shops. Numerous local and national airlines provide regular service to and from the mainland, primarily to Boston and New York area airports.

  • Steamship Authority Ferries, 65 South St., Hyannis, +1 508-477-8600, [2]. The only line that carries autos.
  • Hy-Line Cruises, Ocean Street Dock, Hyannis, +1 508-778-2600, [3].
  • Freedom Cruise Line, Inc., 702 Main St., Harwich Port, +1 508-432-8999, [4].
  • Nantucket Air (also known as ACK air), Nantucket Memorial Airport (IATA: ACK) (ICAO: KACK), +1 800-635-8787 or +1 508-228-6234, [5]. Flies between Barnstable Municipal Airport in Hyannis and Nantucket.
  • Many regional affiliates of major national airlines (US Airways Express, Continental Express, Delta Connection, & JetBlue) provide flights from Boston and New York area airports, although most of these services are summer-only.
  • Nantucket Regional Transit Authority (NRTA), 3 East Chestnut Street, Shuttle Info: 508-228-7025, Your Island Ride: 508-325-7516 (elderly & disabled van service) (Email:, [6].

A popular way to see the island is on the two-way paved bike paths, which are located alongside every major road on the island. There are several bike shops located in or around town that either sell or rent out bikes to visitors and locals. Biking is very popular because of the many bike paths located on the island. All bike paths lead into town and out to Madaket, Surfside, Cliff road, and Sconset. If you're thinking about visiting Nantucket and you do not enjoy biking then the island has a bus shuttle service which serves all areas. Or you could rent a moped and drive around town. For the most part everything you may need during your stay on Nantucket can be found in town so walking is probably your best bet. Also there are taxis cabs available. Also, it is relatively safe to hitchhike a ride. Bike rentals are available right at the ferry dock at:

  • Young's Bicycle Shop, on Steamboat Wharf, +1 508-228-1151.
  • Nantucket Bike Shop, three locations: two on Broad Street near the Steamship Authority, one on Straight Wharf near the Hy-Line Ferry dock, +1 508-228-1999, [7]. Rents bikes conveniently near the ferry docks for one of the best ways to tour the island.
  • Cooks, South Beach Street (next to the Harbor House Village).
  • Madaket Bike Path, 6 mi (9.65 km), 45 minutes one way to top of Madaket. Rest areas and water fountains.
  • Siaconset (or Milestone) Bike Path, 7 mi (11.25 km), one-way. Approximately 1 hour to Siasconset. Water available at the rotary.
  • Surfside Bike Path, 3.5 mi (5.6 km), one way. Flat paths, and only 20 minutes to the beach.
  • Polpis Road Bike Path, 16.5 mi (26.5 km). Loops from the Siasconset Bike Path to Polpis Rd. and back to town.
  • Cliff Road Bike Path, 2.5 mi (4 km). past beautiful cliff-side homes.
  • Dionis Bike Path, Continue on Cliff Road and explore the new Dionis Bike Path.


The island's long and rich history led the National Park Service to declare the entire island a National Historic District. Notable historical sites include the African Meeting House, Brand Point Light, the First Congregational Church, the Hadwen House, Main Street, the Maria Mitchell Association, the Nantucket Atheneum (local library), the Oldest House, the Pacific National Bank, the "Three Bricks" (which has a very interesting construction history), and the Whaling Museum. The majority of sites are within walking distance of each other.

Nantucket was once the whaling capital of the world. A number of the homes located on the Island are from the 1800s, including many of the red brick houses which were once the homes of wealthy whalers. The first settlers of Nantucket were the Quakers. The Island has a heavy Quaker history. It is the believed values of the Quakers that allowed African Americans and women to flourish just as white men did in the olden days. The Island was one of the first places to abolish slavery in the United States. During the late 1800s and early 1900s women were given certain liberties they may have not experienced on the mainland. The first female astronomer, Maria Mitchell is a native of Nantucket. There are many beautiful sights to see in Nantucket. Whether it is the historical houses, colorful gardens, or pristine beaches, sightseeing is always a pleasurable activity.

  • Brant Point Light, A short walk from the town center. The original structure was built in 1746. The second lighthouse built in America.
  • Great Point, At the northern tip of the island, high above the beaches.
  • Sankaty Head, Atop Sankaty Bluff in the east.
  • Oldest House, Sunset Hill Rd., +1 508-228-1885.
  • Old Windmill, South Mill and Prospect Sts., +1 508-228-1885. Made of salvaged wood in 1746 and set in its original location.
  • The Theatre Workshop of Nantucket, 2 Centre St., Methodist Church, +1 508-228-4305 (General Info), +1 508-228-4305 (Box Office), [8].
  • Miacomet Golf Course, 12 West Miacomet Rd., +1 508-325-0333, [9]. 18 holes, 6831 yds, Par 72, Rating 73, Slope 123.
  • Sea Nantucket Kayak Rentals', Washington St. Ext., +1 508-228-7499.
  • Nantucket Community Sailing, Jetties Beach, +1 508-228-5358, [10]. Seasonal. Sunfish, kayak and sailboard rentals.
  • Nantucket Ice Cream Cruise [11], Enjoy a cruise around Nantucket Harbor with Nantucket Adventures while enjoying the famous Nantucket Ice Cream / Juice Guys treats.
  • Nantucket Fishing Boats [12], Online guide of the top fishing boats on Nantucket Island
  • Monomoy Charters, Slip 1018, Straight Wharf, +1 508-228-6867,, [13].
  • Albacore Charters, 22 Sesapana Rd., +1 508-228-5074, [14].
  • Sankaty Head Charters, F St., Walter Barret Pier, +1 508-257-9606,, [15].
  • Mike Cody, +1 508-325-6043, [16]. Surfcasting and fly fishing.


One of the most favorite past times of travelers to Nantucket is going to the Island's many beaches. The crisp fresh air and cool water is quite lovely and the oceanic scene is an image that will leave you breathless. At every corner and end of the island you will find yourself a white-sanded beach. Sit back and enjoy the New England weather or take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean. There are many water activities available, everything from kayaking to surfing. Each beach on the island attracts a different crowd of visitors. You can definitely find a beach on Nantucket that suits and accommodates your personal preference! The beaches are the primary reason people come to Nantucket. Yes, the island has lots to offer, but the miles and miles of shorelines is what continues to attract visitors again and again.

Children’s Beach, Cisco Beach, Coatue, Dionis Beach, Jetties Beach, Madaket Beach, Siasconset (‘Sconset) Beach, Surfside Beach.

As a general rule, beaches located on the south side of the island (Cisco, Surfside, Madaket, Siasconset) have heavier surf and slightly cooler water than those on the north side (Children's, Jetties, Dionis, Coatue/Great Point).

  • Daffodil Festival In late April over 3 million daffodils bloom across the island.
  • Nantucket Wine Festival in May
  • Harborfest Celebration and Nantucket Film Festival in June
  • Independence Day in July
  • Sandcastle and Sculpture Day in August
  • Nantucket Harvest Festival and Nantucket Arts Festival in October
  • Christmas Stroll in December
  • Cruises to see the gray seals and birds on Muskeget Island are offered by specialized boats designed to navigate the difficult waters around the island. These boats can be found departing from Nantucket Harbor.
    • Nantucket Adventures [17], Seal Encounter Cruises to Muskeget Island - 3 Trips Daily,+1 508-228-6365
  • Land Based Tours of Nantucket Island are offered by numerous operators.
    • Gail's Tours, +1 508-257-6557.
    • Robert Pitman Grimes Tour, +1 508-228-9382.
    • Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge National History Tour, +1 508-228-6799.


Main Street is the center of shopping. Located right in town are several very expensive boutiques filled with glamorous summer dresses, custom made jewelry, exclusive handbags, and shoes designed to match every outfit. There are shops for everything from books to antiques to gift shops. Many tourists flocks to the stores located on Main Street for souvenirs, party dresses, bathing suits, beach towels (things they may have forgotten at home), or just to shop just for the fun of it.

A few of the accessories and clothing shops located on Main Street are Judy Nantucket, Nautical Neckties, Vis a Vis, Float, Kiwi Johns, L’lle de France, Ladybird Lingerie, Murray, Murray’s Toggery Shop, Nantucket Looms, Nantucket Reds, NantucKID, Seth, Sunken Ship, and The Black Tick, Nantucket. Great stores to shop for gifts include Art Print of Olde Nantucket, Blue Beetle, Camera Shop, Flowers on Chestnut, Hill’s of Nantucket, L’lle de France, Majolica, Nantucket Baggs, Nantucket Knotworks, Nantucket Life Candle and Soap Shop, Nantucket Looms, and Olde Nantucket Candle Shop.

  • The Golden Basket [18]. Shop for the gold miniature Nantucket Lightship Basket. One of the most popular and well known Nantucket purchases.
  • Christopher Wheat, Nantucket (island), 585-329-8997, [19]. Artist Specializing in Custom Paintings of Nantucket. Home and Cottage portraits, Custom views, Boat and Yacht portraits. Have a custom painting done of your favorite view of Nantucket by artist Christopher Wheat.  edit
  • Something Natural (Sandwich shop), 50 Cliff Road, +1 508-228-0504, [20].
  • A.K. Diamonds, 16 Macy Lane, +1 508-228-3154, [21].
  • Arno's, 41 Main Street, +1 508-228-7001, [22].
  • Atlantic Cafe, 15 South Water St., +1 508-228-0570, [23].
  • Centre Street Bistro, 29 Centre St., +1 508-228-8470, [24].
  • Even Keel Cafe, 40 Main St., +1 508-228-1979, [25].
  • Fog Island Cafe, 7 South Water St., +1 508-228-1818, [26].
  • Lobster Trap, 23 Washington St., +1 508-228-4200, [27].
  • RopeWalk, 1 Straight Wharf, +1 508-228-8886, [28]. Open May-Oct. Sometimes referred to as the "PlankWalk" as it is considered by many to be the most egregious tourist ripoff on the island.
  • Rose & Crown, 23 South Water St., +1 508-228-2595, [29].
  • Seagrille, 45 Sparks Ave., +1 508-325-5700, [30].
  • Starlight Theatre & Cafe, 1 N. Union St., +1 508-228-4479, movies: +1 508-228-4435, [31]. Year round. Lunch daily 11:30AM-5PM, Dinner Su-Th 5PM-9PM, F,Sa 5Pm-8PM. Year-round movie theatre with a full-service bar and cafe. Also live entertainment.
  • Sushi by Yoshi, 2 E. Chestnut St., +1 508-228-1801, [32]. Authentic Japanese restaurant. No liquor license, bring your own.
  • Tap Room, 29 Broad St., +1 508-228-2400, [33]. (Closed for renovations. Will reopen in 2008)
  • The Tavern at Harbor Square, 1 Harbor Sq. +1 508-228-1266, [34]. Mid May-Mid Oct. Lunch: 11:30AM-5PM, Dinner: 5:30PM-9:30PM. Right on the dock with harbor views.
  • Topper's Restaurant, at the Wauwinet, +1 508-228-8768, [35]. Lunch: Noon-2PM, Dinner 6PM-?, Sunday brunch 10AM-2PM. Take the Wauwinet Lady, their 26 passenger launch to get there. World Class. Wine Spectator award.
  • Brant Point Grill, 50 Easton St., +1 508-228-2500, [36]. Right on the Harbor. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Wine Spectator award.
  • 21 Federal, 21 Federal St., +1 508-228-2121, [37].
  • American Seasons, 80 Centre St., +1 508-228-7111, [38].
  • Boarding House, 12 Federal St., +1 508-228-9622, [39].
  • Club Car, 1 Main St., +1 508-228-1101.
  • Company of the Cauldron, 5 India St., +1 508-228-4016, [40]. Small and romantic.
  • DeMarco Restaurant, 9 India St., +1 508-228-1836.
  • Le Languedoc Inn & Bistro, 24 Broad St., +1 508-228-2552, [41].
  • Oran Mor, 2 South Beach St., +1 508-228-8655, [42].
  • The Pearl, 12 Federal St., +1 508-228-9701, [43].
  • Sfoglia, 130 Pleasant St., +1 508-325-4500, [44].
  • Ships Inn, 13 Fair St., +1 508-228-0040, [45].
  • Straight Wharf, 6 Harbor Square, +1508-228-4499, [46].
  • Water Street, 21 S. Water St., "+1508-228-7080, [47].
  • Galley Beach, 54 Jefferson Ave (one mile from town, first right off the ferry, straight untill you hit the beach), 508 228 9641. 12PM to 1AM. The one place not to miss on Nantucket, directly on the beach over looking Nantucket sound, voted in 2008, best fine dining, most romantic, best water front dining, and over all best restaurant.  edit
  • Chicken Box, 14 Dave St. (off Lower Orange St.), +1 508-228-9717, [48]. Live music, pool, foosball, darts.
  • Kitty Murtaugh's, 4 West Creek Rd., +1 508-228-0781. Pool tables.
  • Lo La 41, 15 S. Beach St., +1 508-228-2033.
  • Brotherhood of Thieves, 23 Broad St., +1 508-228-2551, [49]. Folk Musicians. Highly popular.
  • Pudley's Pub, 27 Faregrounds Rd., +1 508-228-4095.
  • Water Street, 21 S. Water St, 508-228-7080, [50].  edit
  • Plum TV [51], Ch. 22 on Comcast Cable and available on Comcast Video-on-Demand throughout New England
  • The Beachside at Nantucket, 30 North Beach St, +1 508-228-2241, FAX: +1 508-228-8901, [52]. 90 air-conditioned guestrooms and suites. Wireless Internet. Continental breakfast included. Outdoor heated pool. Short walk to town, harbor and beaches.
  • Brass Lantern Nantucket, 11 North Water St, +1 800-377-6609, Fax: +1 508-325-0928, [53]. 17 air conditioned guestroom suites. Amenities include canopy beds, pet friendly rooms, convenient walking distance to local attractions, harbor views, robes, and private baths.
  • Century House, 10 Cliff Road, +1 508-228-0530, [54]. Luxury inn bed and breakfast. Breezy wrap-around veranda; cliff top, historic location on Nantucket Island. Homemade daily fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. Discover the Freedoms of Nantucket.
  • Cliffside Beach Club, 46 Jefferson Av, +1 508-228-0618; FAX: +1 508-325-4735, [55]. Top notch and expensive. On private Beach, about 1 mi (1.6 km)from town.
  • Jared Coffin House, 29 Broad Street, Reservations, 800.248.2405, Tel (508) 228-2400 [56]. This historic inn offers a variety of accommodations, in room spa treatments, dining discounts, a high quality restaurant and wedding and conference facilities.
  • Le Languedoc, 24 Broad St, +1 508-228-4298; FAX: 508-228-4682, [57]. Year-round. In the historic district. Fine dining.
  • Nantucket Inn and Conference Center, 1 Miller's Way, +1 508-228-6900, FAX: +1 508-228-9861, [58]. 100 rooms. Indoor/outdoor pool & lighted tennis. Full breakfast included.
  • Nantucket Boat Basin, Swain's Wharf, Tel (508) 325-1350 [59] Minutes from historic Nantucket Town, the Boat Basin is a 240 slip, full service marina.
  • Point Breeze Hotel, 71 Easton St, +1 508-228-0313, FAX: +1 508-325-6044, [60]. May-December. On the edge of the Historic District. Walk to Main Street and beaches. Complete breakfast in season, continental breakfast off season.
  • Roberts House, 11 India & Centre Sts, +1 508-228-9009, [61].
  • Seven Sea Street B&B, 7 Sea St., +1 508-228-3577, Fax: +1 508-228-3578. 9 rooms. Well liked.
  • Ships Inn, 13 Fair Street, +1 508-228-0040, FAX: +1 508-228-6524,[62]. May-Oct. 12 guest rooms.
  • The Cottages at the Boat Basin, One Old South Wharf, Reservations, 866.838.9253, Tel (508) 325-1499 [63] Offers studio, one, two, and three bedroom waterfront cottages with harbor views, modern kitchens, private balconies and in-room spa treatments. Pet friendly cottages available.
  • The Summer House- Sconset, Ocean Av, Siasconset, +1 508-257-4577, FAX: 257-4590, [64]. Late Apr-Oct. On the bluff overlooking the Atlantic. A special hideaway. Oceanfront beach.
  • The Summer House- Fair Street, 27 Fair St, +1 508-257-4577, FAX: +1 508-257-4590, [65]. Late Apr. - Dec. Unique rooms and suites.
  • The Summer House- India Street, 31 India St, +1 508-257-4577, FAX: +1 508-257-4590, [66]. Late Apr. - Dec. In a restored whaling captain's mansion. Short walk to shops and restaurants.
  • Vanessa Noel Hotel, 5 Chestnut St, +1 508-228-5300, Fax: +1 508-228-8995, [67]. Year round. No smoking. In the heart of Nantucket's historic district, eight luxurious rooms include marble baths. Trendy.
  • Vanessa Noel Hotel Green, 33 Center St, +1 508-228-5300, Fax: +1 508-228-8995, Year round. No smoking. sits adjacent to Vanessa Noel Hotel, the islands first and only eco-friendly organic luxury hotel, ten uniquely appointed rooms with the most luxurious sustainable accoutrements. Healthy and Organic.
  • Hostelling International-Nantucket, 31 Western Ave., +1 508-228-0433,, [68]. Open mid-May to early October.
  • The Woodbox Inn - 1709, 29 Fair St, +1 508-228-0587, FAX: +1 508-228-7527, [69]. 9 rooms. June-Dec. Nantucket's oldest inn, built in 1850. Two blocks from town.
  • Century House, 10 Cliff Road, +1 508-228-0530, [70]. Luxury inn bed and breakfast located at the top of a cliff on Nantucket Island with a wrap-around veranda and homemade chocolate chip cookies.
  • The Wauwinet, 120 Wauwinet Road, Reservations, 800.426.8718, Tel (800)426-8718 [71] This Nantucket Island luxury resort offers private beaches, town shuttles, comfortable rooms, and beach activities.
  • White Elephant, 50 Easton Street, Reservations, 800.445.6574, Tel (508)228-2500 [72] This premier waterfront Nantucket hotel consists of chic guestrooms and cottages. Business lounge, fitness center, shuttle service and spa offered.
This is a guide article. It has a variety of good, quality information including hotels, restaurants, attractions, arrival and departure info. Plunge forward and help us make it a star!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

NANTUCKET, a county and township (coextensive) of Massachusetts, U.S.A. Its principal part is an island of the same name, 28 m. S. of Cape Cod peninsula; it also includes the island of Tuckernuck, which has an area of 1.9 7 sq. m., and is used for sheep grazing; Muskeget Island, which has excellent hunting, and of which about one-half is a public park; and the Gravel Islands and other islets. Pop. of the county (1905 state census), 2930; (1910) 2962.

The island, with a minimum length of 15 m., an average width of 22 m., and an area of about 47 sq. m., has a coast-line of 88 m.; it lies within the ro-fathom line, but is separated from the mainland by Nantucket Sound, which is 25 to 30 m. across and has a maximum depth of 50 ft. The surface of Nantucket Island is open, nearly treeless, with a few hills, the highest being 91 ft. above sea-level. The soil is sandy but affords good pasture in some places, and has been farmed with some success; the flora is rich, and includes some rare species. There are a score of fresh-water ponds, the largest being Hummock (320 acres). Copaum (21 acres) was, at the time of the first settlement, a bay and the commonly used harbour, but the present harbour (6 m. long) is that formed by Coatue Beach, a long narrow tongue of land on the N. side of the island. The northern part of Coatue Beach is known as Coskata Beach, and curves to the N.W.; near its tip is Great Point, where a lighthouse was first built in 1784. There have been many terrible wrecks on the coast, and there are life-saving stations on Muskeget Island, near Maddaket, at Surfside and on Coskata Beach. At the W. end of the island is Tuckernuck Bank, a broad submarine platform, on whose edge are the island of Tuckernuck, on which is a village of the same name, and Muskeget Island. In the S.E. extremity of Nantucket Island is Siasconset (locally 'Sconset), a summer resort of some vogue; it has a Marconi wireless telegraph station, connecting with incoming steamers, the Nantucket shoals lightship and the mainland. On a bluff on the S. is the small village of Surfside. Other hamlets are Maddaket, at the W. end of the island; and Polpis, Quidnet and Wauwinet (at the head of Nantucket harbour) in its E. part.

The principal settlement and summer resort is the town of Nantucket (on the S.W. end of the harbour), which is served by steamers from New Bedford, Martha's Vineyard and Wood's Hole, and is connected with Siasconset by a primitive narrowgauge railway. Here there are large summer hotels, old residences built in the prosperous days of whaling, old lean-to houses, old graveyards and an octagonal towered windmill built in 1746. There are two libraries; one founded in 1836, and now a public library in the Atheneum building; and the other in what is now the School of Industrial and Manual Training (1904), founded in 1827 as a Lancasterian school by Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin (1759-1839), whose ancestors were Nantucket people. The Jethro Coffin House was built in 1686, according to tradition; the Old North Vestry, the first Congregational meeting-house, built in r 7 r r, was moved in 1767, and again in 1834 to its present site on Beacon Hill. The old South Church Tower, a steeple and clock tower, 144 ft. above sea-level, has a fine Portuguese bell, made in 1810. Another old house, built in 1725, was the home of Elihu Coleman, an anti-slavery minister of the Society of Friends, who were very strong here until the close of the first quarter of the 19th century. Near the old Friends' School is the building of the Nantucket Historical Society, which has a collection of relics. Nantucket was the home of Benjamin Franklin's mother, Abiah, whose father, Peter Folger, was one of the earliest settlers (1663); of Maria Mitchell, and of Lucretia Mott. Adjoining the Maria Mitchell homestead is a memorial astronomical observatory and library, containing the collections of Miss Mitchell and of her brother, Professor Henry Mitchell (1830-1902), a distinguished hydrographer. The industries of the island are unimportant; there is considerable cod and scallop fishing. Sheep-raising was once an important industry. Nantucket was long famous as a whaling port. As early as the beginning of the 18th century its fleets vied with those of eastern Long Island. In 1712 a Nantucket whaler, Christopher Hussey, blown out to sea, killed some sperm whales and thus introduced the sperm-oil industry and put an end to the period in which only driftand shoreor boat-whaling had been carried on - the shore fishery died out about 1760. In 1757 whaling was the only livelihood of the people of Nantucket; and in 1750-1775, although whaling fleets were in repeated danger from French and Spanish privateers, the business, with the allied coopers and other trades, steadily increased. In 1775 the Nantucket fleet numbered 150, and the population was between 5000 and 6000, about 90% being Quakers; but by 1785 the fleet had been shattered, 134 ships being destroyed or captured during the war. Tallow candles as a substitute for whale-oil had been introduced, and the British market was closed by a duty of £r8 a ton on oil; a bounty offered by the Massachusetts legislature (£5 on white and £ 3 on yellow or brown spermaceti, and £2 on whale-oil per ton) was of slight assistance. During the war of 1812 the Nantucket fleet was the only one active; it suffered severely during the war, and in the decade1820-1830Nantucket lost its primacy to New Bedford, whose fleet in 1840 was twice as large. Nantucket's last whaler sailed in 1869. Subsequently the island has been chiefly important as a summer resort.

Title to Nantucket and the neighbouring islands was claimed under grants of the Council for New England both by William Alexander, Lord Stirling, and by Sir Ferdinando Gorges. Lord Stirling's agent sold them in 1641 to Thomas Mayhew (1592-1682) of Watertown, Mass., and his son Thomas (c. 1616-1657) for £40, and a little later the elder Mayhew obtained another deed for Martha's Vineyard from Gorges. In 1659 the elder Mayhew sold a joint interest in the greater part of the island of Nantucket for £ 3 0 and two beaver hats to nine partners; early in the following year the first ten admitted ten others as equal proprietors, and later, in order to encourage them to settle here, special half-grants were offered to tradesmen. The original twenty proprietors, however, endeavoured to exclude the tradesmen from any voice in the government, and this caused strife. Both factions appealed to the governor of New York, that province having claimed jurisdiction over the islands under the grant to the duke of York in 1664, and, becoming increasingly dissatisfied with that government, sought a union with Massachusetts until the islands were annexed to that province by its new charter of 1691. The town of Nantucket was settled in 1661 and was incorporated in 1671. By order of Governor Francis Lovelace it was named Sherburne in 1673, but in 1795 the present name was adopted. Its original site was Maddaket on the W. end of the island; in 1672 it was moved to its present site, then called Wescoe. When counties were first organized in New York, in 1683, Nantucket and the neighbouring islands were erected into Dukes county, but in 1695, after annexation to Massachusetts, Nantucket Island, having been set apart from Dukes county, constituted Nantucket county, and in 1713 Tuckernuck Island was annexed to it.

See the bulletins (1896 sqq.) of the Nantucket Historical Society, established in 1894; F. B. Hough, Papers relating to the Island of Nantucket. while under the Colony of New York (Albany, N.Y., 1856); M. S. Dudley, Nantucket Centennial Celebration; Historic Sites and Historic Buildings (Nantucket, 1895); Obed Macy, History of Nantucket (Boston, 1835); L. S. Hinchman, Early Settlers of Nantucket (Philadelphia, 1896; 2nd ed., 1901); W. S. Bliss, Quaint Nantucket (Boston, 1896); and N. S. Shaler, Geology of Nantucket (Washington, 1889), being U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin, No. 53.

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