The Brant Point Lighthouse received a long-awaited paint job Friday morning along with other maintenance work, and the landmark is now looking better than it has in years.
The Coast Guard's Aids to Navigation team based in Woods Hole visited the island on Friday to complete the work, which island residents and town officials had been requesting for years as the iconic lighthouse had fallen into a state of decay.
The team from Woods Hole added white paint to the shingles that adorn the 26-foot lighthouse, along with black paint to the top, a light-green paint on the trim, and repaired the roof over the entrance.
The Brant Point Point Lighthouse is the first thing most people see when they come to Nantucket. It’s the billboard for the island, and the background for thousands of snapshots and postcards. But in recent years, the lighthouse had become marked with broken shingles, peeling paint, rust, graffiti, mold and moss.
While the local Coast Guard crew at Station Brant Point wanted to address the cosmetic issues on their own, they were required to hold off until the team from Woods Hole could be mobilized.
A handful of citizens, led by Dina Schwartz, had helped to spearhead the maintenance project by repeatedly contacting the Aids to Navigation officer in Woods Hole. Over the past year, the Nantucket Historical Commission had also highlighted the need to spruce up the lighthouse
"I am so thankful the Coast Guard heard our pleas and took the necessary steps to get this done," Schwartz said. "It was way more complicated and bureaucratic than one may think. Preserving our iconic lighthouse is a mix of nostalgia, history and beauty for all of us and what it represents to the beautiful island of Nantucket.
The last maintenance work that had been performed on Brant Point Lighthouse was in June 2021, but that was strictly on the walkway structure leading up to the lighthouse.
While there was discussion in 2004 about the lighthouse being declared surplus and potentially being turned over to the town, that never happened, and responsibility remains with the Coast Guard.
Brant Point Light was built in 1746 and is the second oldest lighthouse in the country, according to the Nantucket Historical Association. What you see today is actually its tenth rebuilding, which occurred in 1901. The lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.