Historic Places

Historic Sites on the Sound

The shorelines of Nantucket Sound are dotted with hundreds of historic places, including lighthouses, sea captains’ homes, and places that comprise an important part of our country’s history! A handful of these places, such as the Kennedy Compound, the Island of Nantucket, and Flying Horses Carousel and Wesleyan Grove, are National Historic Landmarks. This is the highest level of historic designation, and the Alliance is seeking federal legislation to secure the same level of designation and level of historic protection for Nantucket Sound. We recommend visiting the following favorite spots to explore all that the Sound has to offer:

Ancient Burying Ground

Phinney’s Lane, Centerville, MA

The oldest cemetery in town and the only remaining element of its colonial origins. The oldest marked grave is that of Jonathan Hamblen in 1743.

Barnstable’s Old Gaol

3365 Main Street, Barnstable, MA

Built in 1690, it is the oldest wooden jail in America. It served as Barnstable County’s jail until 1820 when a new stone one was built.

Brant Point Light Station

Easton St, Nantucket, MA

The original lighthouse was built in 1746 as the second lighthouse in colonial America. It has since been rebuilt 9 times due to fire and inclement weather. From the lighthouse, you can look in towards Nantucket’s bustling harbor or out over the serene Sound.

Cape Poge Lighthouse

59 Lighthouse Rd, Edgartown, MA

The lighthouse was built in 1801 as a navigational aid to fishermen in the whaling industry.

Captain Allen H. Bearse House

48 Camp St, Barnstable, MA

The house was built in 1857 and was the home of Allen Bearse, a well-known deep-sea captain and Hyannis wharf owner.

Captain Jonathan Parker House

72 Crosby Circle, Osterville, MA

This it was built in 1824 and was the home of a prominent schooner captain known for making a living in fishing and transportation up and down the coast. It is now the Osterville Historical Museum and features a 19th century ornamental garden.

Charles Codman Estate

Bluff Point Dr., Cotuit, MA

This property was built by Codman, a Civil War veteran, in 1870 and served as his summer getaway.

Chatham Light Station

37 Main St, Chatham, MA

This lighthouse turned Coast Guard station was built in 1808 and is now the second lighthouse on Cape Cod. Samuel Nye was appointed the first keeper of the light by President Thomas Jefferson.

Daniel Crosby House

18 Bay Street, Osterville, MA

This property was built in 1790 and served as the home to the head of the locally prominent Crosby family, which went on to establish Crosby Yacht Yard and design the first Crosby Catboat.

Edgartown Harbor Lighthouse

121 N Water St, Edgartown, MA

This lighthouse was first built in 1828 and repaired many times due to erosion and storms. In 1939 the Coast Guard acquired ownership and it was completely refurbished in 1985.

Flying Horses Carousel

15 Oak Bluffs Ave, Oak Bluffs, MA

This is the oldest operating carousel in America. Built by Charles Dare in 1876 in Coney Island, it was moved to the Vineyard in 1884 and is one of Dare’s two remaining carousels.

Jethro Coffin House

16 Sunset Hill, Nantucket, MA

This home was built in 1686 as a wedding gift to Jethro Coffin and his wife Mary Gardner. They are the grandchildren of two of the island’s oldest families. The Jethro Coffin House is the oldest house on Nantucket that remains on its original site.

Louis Brandeis House

Judges Way, Chatham, MA

The Louis Brandeis house was the summer home of Supreme Court Justice Brandeis, who was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916.

Nantucket Historic District

2 Fairgrounds Rd, Nantucket, MA

Encompassing the entirety of Nantucket Island, at over 30,000 acres it is the largest conventional historic landmark district in the contiguous United States.

Old Indian Meeting House

410 Meetinghouse Rd, Mashpee, MA

This property was built in 1684. It is the oldest Native American church in the eastern United States and the oldest church on Cape Cod.

Quaker Meeting House

7 Fair St, Nantucket, MA

The property was built in 1838 and served as the location for gatherings of early Quaker residents. Quakerism was the dominant religion for many islanders during the height of the whaling industry.

Sachem Iyanough Memorial

Main Street, Hyannis, MA

Located at the top of the Hyannis Town Green on Main Street, this statue commemorates Native American Chief Iyanough, leader of the Mattakeese tribe of Cummaquid.

Stage Harbor Lighthouse

Private Property, Stage Harbor, Chatham, MA

This lighthouse was built in 1880, making it one of the youngest lighthouses on Nantucket Sound. It was deactivated in 1933, after 53 years of use.

The Goodspeed House

271 River Rd, Marstons Mills, MA

Built by Roger Goodspeed, the town’s first settler in 1653.

The Kennedy Compound

50 Marchant Ave, Hyannis, MA

This remarkable cluster of homes has served as the summertime residence for the Kennedy family since 1926. It was also the base for President John F. Kennedy’s successful 1960 presidential campaign. The best way to see the property is via a Hyannis Harbor Cruise.

Wesleyan Grove

80 Trinity Park, Oak Bluffs, MA

This is a 34 acre property that served as the first summer religious camp in the United States in 1835. It is now recognizable for its 300 colorful cottages referred to as gingerbread cottages.

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