Nantucket is an island located approximately 30 miles south from Cape Cod. Together with the small islands of Tuckernuck and Muskeget, it constitutes the Town of Nantucket. Nantucket is a tourist destination, a summer colony and has been an art colony since the 1920s. Nantucket’s settlement by the English did not begin in earnest until 1659. The “nine original purchasers” (Tristram Coffin, Peter Coffin, Thomas Macy, Christopher Hussey, Richard Swain, Thomas Barnard, Stephen Greenleaf, John Swain and William Pike) are considered the founding fathers of Nantucket, and many islanders are related to these families. The Nantucket whaling industry started pre-1672 but by 1850, whaling was in decline as Nantucket’s whaling industry had been surpassed by that of New Bedford. This decline was one of many contributors leading to the depopulation of the island. As a result of this depopulation, the island was left under-developed and isolated until the mid-20th century. The isolation kept many of the pre-Civil War buildings intact and, by the 1950s, enterprising developers began buying up large sections of the island and restoring them to create an upmarket destination for wealthy people in the Northeastern United States. Nantucket can be reached by sea from the mainland by various ferry services or by private boat. The airport is one of the busiest in Massachusetts and often logs more take-offs and landings on a summer day than Boston’s Logan Airport. There are seasonal island-wide shuttle buses to many destinations. There are public and private schools on the island for year-round residents.
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