12 Things You Didn’t Know about Nantucket

70˚ W 41˚ N

The island, county, and town of Nantucket (the only island which stands as all three) is known for many things: rich whaling history, an old cobblestone Main Street and lewd limerick.

But there is much more to learn about Nantucket besides what you can observe on a casual walk-through.

If we’ve missed anything, let us know by emailing us at [email protected] 

Check out these intriguing facts about Nantucket below.

  1. Nantucket is 10 degrees warmer than the mainland during the winter and 10 degrees cooler in the summer, due to its proximity to the Gulf Stream
  2. The island came into existence about 12,000 to 10,000 years ago by massive retreating glaciers
  3. Nantucket, the town, was originally called Sherburne, but changed it in 1795
  4. Cars were not allowed on Nantucket until 1918
  5. There are over 700 shipwrecks surrounding the island
  6. “Nantucket” is a rough interpretation of an Algonquin term for “Faraway Land” – 3,000 Wampanoags lived on the island when it was taken by the English in 1659
  7. There are over 800 buildings on Nantucket which predate the Civil War
  8. Excluding the Wampanoag’s longtime presence, the island was “discovered” in 1602 by Bartholomew Gosnold – he would later help colonize Jamestown, Virginia
  9. The mother of Benjamin Franklin, Abiah Folger, was born on the island in 1667
  10. Rowland Hussey Macy lived and operated a dry goods store on Nantucket at the corner of Main Street and Fair Street – he moved to New York City in 1858 and opened “Macy’s”
  11. The purity of Nantucket’s groundwater does not require the town to add chlorine – it comes from an aquifer created by glaciers thousands of years ago
  12. The island has the greatest variety of vegetation than any other place of similar size in the United States, although many species of plants were imported there

By CapeCod.com Staff

737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
Contact Us | Advertise Terms of Use 
Employment and EEO | Privacy