As was the case on Martha’s Vineyard, 17th-century European settlers arrived to find the Wampanoag people had been living on this island for thousands of years. The indigenous peoples called their home Nantucket, “the land far away at sea” and their chief was Wauwinet, whose name now graces the gateway to the refuge. Coskata and Coatue also derive from Wampanoag place names, meaning “at the broad woods” and “at the pine woods,” respectively.
Colonists were content to establish themselves closer to the inner harbor, clearing and burning land for homesteads and grazing – but for the most part leaving this section of the island to its lovely isolation.
Property Acquisition History
Original acreage a gift of Mrs. J. Allen Backus and Mr. and Mrs. Robert W. Sziklas in 1974. Additional land given by Christopher K. Lohmann and Pamela Fezandie Lohmann in 1983 and 1989, and by Backus Trust in 1986. Partial interest in 125 acres given by the Lohmanns in 1989 and 1993, completed in 1998.