Bird Observer: The Birding Journal for New England

Bird Observer

The Birding Journal for New England

June 2016

Vol. 44, No. 3

Duck!

John J. Galluzzo and Christopher E. Degni


Great Point Lighthouse. Photography courtesy U.S. Lighthouse Society Archive - uslhs.org

We know for sure that the wind was blowing hard on Nantucket the night the ducks struck the lighthouse. We know—or believe, based on the evidence presented— the duck species. And we know they caused quite a bit of damage. Only one thing is in question: why did the assistant keeper’s story change from newspaper to newspaper?

Nantucket’s Great Point Lighthouse, which stood at the extreme northeastern tip of the island and helped guide mariners between Monomoy, at the southern tip of the elbow of Cape Cod, and Nantucket Island, looked in 1902 much like the tower that stands there today. But it’s not the same tower. The first Great Point Light, built in 1785 of wood, burned down in 1816. The second tower, built of stone in 1818, stood until a terrific storm turned it into a pile of rubble in the spring of 1984. The third tower, standing today, replicates the second tower. The harrowing event in question took place at the second Great Point Lighthouse.

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