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:
Brant Point Light Station
Located at the end of Easton Street on Nantucket, 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.
Pictured above by Jeremy D’Entremont.
Cape Poge Lighthouse
Located at the northeast tip of Chappaquiddick Island, the lighthouse was built in 1801 as a navigational aid to fishermen in the whaling industry.
Chatham Light Station
Located at 37 Main Street in beautiful Chatham, 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.
Quaker Meeting House
Located at 7 Fair Street on Nantucket, 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.
The Kennedy Compound
Located at 50 Marchant Ave in Hyannis Port, 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.
Nantucket Historic District
Encompassing the entirety of Nantucket Island, at over 30,000 acres it is the largest conventional historic landmark district in the contiguous United States.
Flying Horses Carousel
Located at 15 Oaks Bluffs Ave on Martha’s Vineyard, 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.
Edgartown Harbor Lighthouse
Located at the entrance to Edgartown Harbor on Martha’s Vineyard, the 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.
Captain Allen H. Bearse House
Located at 48 Camp Street in Barnstable, the house was built in 1857 and was the home of Allen Bearse, a well-known deep-sea captain and Hyannis wharf owner.
Located at 80 Trinity Park in Oaks Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard, 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.
Louis Brandeis House
Located on private Judges Way in Chatham, the Louis Brandeis house was the summer home of Supreme Court Justice Brandeis, who was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916.
Jethro Coffin House
Located at 16 Sunset Hill on Nantucket, 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 it’s original site.
Old Indian Meeting House
Located in Mashpee at 410 Meetinghouse Road, 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.
Charles Codman Estate
Located on Bluff Point Drive in Cotuit, the property was built by Codman, a Civil War veteran, in 1870 and served as his summer getaway.
Daniel Crosby House
Located at 18 Bay Street in Osterville, the 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.
Barnstable’s Old Gaol
Located at 3365 main street, was 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.
Sachem Iyanough Memorial
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.
Captain Jonathan Parker House
Located at 72 Crosby Circle in Osterville, 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.
The Goodspeed House
Located on River Ridge Road in Marstons Mills, was built by Roger Goodspeed, the town’s first settler in 1653.
Ancient Burying Ground
Located on Phinney’s Lane in Centerville, it is 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.
Stage Harbor Lighthouse
Located on private property at the entrance to Stage Harbor in Chatham, 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.