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Exploring Nantucket's History

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Spending time anywhere but the beach on Nantucket can be hard to justify. After all, this small island 30 miles from the coast of Cape Cod offers some of the most beautiful seascapes in the world. But when you do tear yourself away from the shoreline there is an abundance of history to discover. Explore Nantucket's heyday as the whaling capital of the world, see the oldest working mill in the United States, and learn about the first professional female astronomer in the country.
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49 Union St, Nantucket, MA 02554, USA
Lightships are an unusual part of Nantucket's maritime history: ships that functioned as floating lighthouses, strategically moving to provide critical light to ships in dark waters. As the crew found extra time on their hands, they took up basket...
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13 Broad St, Nantucket, MA 02554, USA
Underneath the 43-foot skeleton of a juvenile sperm whale, visitors to the Nantucket Whaling Museum can absorb the danger and excitement of a 19th-century whaling voyage at the daily “Whale Hunt” presentation. Museum interpreters, using video,...
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16 Sunset Hill, Nantucket, MA 02554, USA
Evidence of the initial landowners of Nantucket is found throughout the island. In fact, the oldest house still standing on Nantucket was built in 1686 by the Coffin family as a wedding gift for Jethro Coffin and his bride, Mary Gardner. The...
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Siasconset, Nantucket, MA, USA
At the east end of Nantucket island you’ll find the historic and charming village of Siasconset, better known as ‘Sconset, settled as a fishing village in the 17th century. Make sure to walk by the ocean and see Codfish Park. These old cottages...
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4 Vestal St, Nantucket, MA 02554, USA
Maria Mitchell, born on Nantucket in 1818, was a navigator, librarian, and astronomer who discovered a comet through a telescope in 1847 and subsequently became the first professional female astronomer in the United States. The Maria Mitchell...
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50 Prospect St, Nantucket, MA 02554, USA
The oldest functioning mill in the United States is right here on Nantucket. Built in 1746 by Nathan Wilbur, an island sailor who had spent time in Holland, beams from shipwrecks that had washed ashore were used for much of the framework. The mill...
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Nantucket, MA, USA
Look for this treasured landmark if you're ever on Nantucket. Painted in 1936, it was based on the compass used by sailors worldwide and marked the location of Marshall Gardiner's gift and photography business. The Nantucket Historical Association...