The Brant Point Lighthouse will be getting a long-awaited paint job by the U.S. Coast Guard this month, but the maintenance work and other concerns will preclude one of the island’s annual spring traditions: the hanging of the daffodil wreath from the lighthouse.
The wreath usually goes up around this time each year - a tradition started 30 years ago by former Station Brant Point senior chief Jack Downey - but with the lighthouse’s exterior in a state of disrepair, it will not be put up this year.
“We’ve suspended putting the wreath up for now,” Brant Point senior chief Andrew Babione told the Current. “The wreath has caused damage to the lighthouse, and they’ll be doing maintenance on it later this month.”
The shabby condition of the lighthouse has been a point of discussion for the Nantucket Historical Commission and others on the island in recent years. The upkeep of the Brant Point Lighthouse is not actually the responsibility of the town or Station Brant Point, it falls instead to the Coast Guard’s Aids to Navigation team based in Woods Hole. That crew will be coming out to Nantucket later this month for cosmetic painting, which is just one of the aspects of the lighthouse that needs to be addressed. There are still others which may require additional work before the wreath can adorn the lighthouse once again.
“If you look at the handrails where the wreath is hung from, that’s 100-year-old iron and it’s paper thin, flaking rust, and parts of it are broken,” Babione said. “I don’t know how much weight it can support. The wreath weighs close to 60 or 70 pounds, and it rubs on the wood shingles. The wreath itself did not cause the other problems with the siding on the roof, but it’s causing significant chaffing.”
For the last several year, island florist Hafsa Lewis has taken on the responsibility of creating the wreath and working with Station Brant Point to hang it on the lighthouse. Lewis is actively scouting for an alternative location for the wreath for this year, but options are limited given the weight of the wreath.
It’s unclear when the necessary maintenance work will be completed to allow it to return to the Brant Point Lighthouse.
“I do know how much the wreath means to the community, I do understand that,” Babione said. “I don’t think it’s going to be paused forever, but I’m not involved in the discussion about making the handrails better.”