U.S. Coast Guard
Sankaty Head Light was the first lighthouse in the U.S. to have a Fresnel lens as part of its original equipment. The Coast Guard removed the lantern in 1970, but complaints led to a new aluminum lantern being installed. The bluff eroded greatly over the years, necessitating the removal of all buildings except the lighthouse. Erosion control measures postponed an inevitable move of the tower for years. With the tower only about 75 feet from the edge of the bluff, it was moved to a new location in October 2007. It is now about 280 feet from the edge of the bluff.
Tower Height: 70
Height of Focal Plane: 158
Characteristic and Range: Flashing white every 7.5 seconds.
Description of Tower: Conical brick tower, white with red band in middle, with black aluminum lantern.
This light is operational
Date Established: 1850
Date Present Tower Built: 1850
Date Automated: 1965
Optics: 1850: Second order Fresnel lens; now DCB-224. The second order Fresnel lens is now on display at the Nantucket Whaling Museum on Broad Street, Nantucket.
Current Use: Active aid to navigation.
Open To Public? Grounds only.
Sankaty Head Light is located in the village of Siasconset (promounced "Sconset") on the southeastern corner of Nantucket. Nantucket is accessible via ferry from Hyannis on Cape Cod. The Steamship Authority runs year-round car and passenger ferries; for information call the Hyannis terminal at (508) 771-4000. For vehicle reservations call (508) 477-8600. Hy-Line cruises runs a passenger only ferry from May through October; they also have a high-speed ferry. For information call (508) 778-2600, or you can request a brochure by faxing your name and address to (508) 775-2662. There are guided tours of the island available from Ara's Tours (including all three lighthouses), call (508) 228-1951. Gail's Tours also offers personalized island tours; call (508) 257-6557. Great Expeditions offers hiking, biking and kayaking tours of Nantucket; call (508) 825-2555.
Mapquest URL: Click here to get a map to this lighthouse!
Listed on the
National Register of Historic Places
Keepers: Alexander D. Bunker (1850-1854); Samuel G. Swain (assistant 1850-1854, principal keeper 1854-1861); Henry Winslow (1861-1865); Uriah C. Clark (1865-1873); George F. Folger (1873-1882); Calvin Hamblin (1882-1891); Ethan Allen (1891-1892); Joseph Remsen (1892-1919); Charles Vanderhoop (assistant 1912-1913, principal keeper 1919-1920); Eugene Larsen (assistant 1914-1920; principal keeper 1920-1944); Archford Haskins (1944-?). Other assistants: Charles Swain (1870s), Franklin Murphey (1873-1875), John M. Lamb (1875-?), Freeman Atkins (?), Benjamin Sayer (?), Charles Pollard (?), Benjamin F. Wyer (1880), Benjamin F, Brown (1882-1889), James H. Norcross (1889), Wallace A. Eldredge (1889-?), Marcus E. Howes (?), Thomas J. Kelly (?), George W. Purdy (?), C. A. Ellis (1920-1921), Francis Macy (1921-1925), James Dolby (1925-1933)