Long Point Lighthouse

Provincetown, Massachusetts
Long Point Lighthouse is a beautiful and historic lighthouse located on the Long Point peninsula in Provincetown, Massachusetts on Cape Cod.
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About This Location

Introduction:

The Long Point Lighthouse, nestled in Provincetown, Massachusetts, on the idyllic Cape Cod peninsula, stands as a testament to the maritime history and navigational needs of this coastal region. This iconic structure has served as a beacon of safety for sailors navigating the treacherous waters of Cape Cod Bay. Here, we delve into the history, specifications, changes, and present-day status of the Long Point Lighthouse.

Why was the lighthouse needed, and where was the designated placement?

The need for a lighthouse in the vicinity of Long Point became apparent due to the perilous waters surrounding Cape Cod. Cape Cod’s elongated, sandy shoreline, combined with dense fog and frequent storms, posed a significant threat to ships traveling along the eastern seaboard. The designated placement for the Long Point Lighthouse was at the very tip of Long Point, which extends as a narrow, sandy spit into the sea. This strategic location was essential for guiding vessels safely into Provincetown Harbor.

When was the lighthouse established?

The Long Point Lighthouse was first established in 1827, making it one of the oldest lighthouses on Cape Cod. It was constructed to replace an earlier, less effective light station on Wood End, which was also situated in Provincetown.

Specifications of the lighthouse:

  • Height: The original Long Point Lighthouse tower stands at approximately 38 feet tall.
  • Shape: It is a classic, cylindrical tower made of brick, typical of many New England lighthouses.
  • Color: Traditionally, the tower was painted white to increase its visibility during the day.
  • Flashing Pattern: The lighthouse exhibited a characteristic white flash every 5 seconds.

Changes to the lighthouse tower and station:

Over the years, the Long Point Lighthouse tower has undergone modifications and renovations to maintain its functionality and stability. Notably, the tower’s height was increased in 1875 to improve its visibility, and the light source was upgraded to a Fresnel lens.

Listing on the National Register of Historic Places:

Yes, the Long Point Lighthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987, recognizing its historical significance and architectural charm. The refence number of the lighthouse is 87002039.

Ownership and Maintenance Today:

The lighthouse is currently owned and maintained by the United States Coast Guard, which ensures its proper operation and adherence to safety standards.

Visiting the lighthouse today:

The Long Point Lighthouse, located within the boundaries of the Cape Cod National Seashore, offers a unique opportunity for visitors to experience a piece of maritime history. The grounds around the lighthouse are open to the public, and visitors can enjoy the scenic beauty of Long Point. While the tower itself is typically not open to the public, the stunning views from the surrounding area make it a popular spot for photography and sightseeing.

Access to Long Point is primarily by boat, and there are no public roads leading to the lighthouse. Some visitors choose to hike or bike to the area, while others take guided tours that depart from Provincetown. Keep in mind that Long Point is a fragile and protected environment, so visitors are encouraged to respect the natural surroundings and follow any posted guidelines.

In summary, Long Point Lighthouse stands as both a historic landmark and a reminder of Cape Cod’s maritime heritage. Its enduring presence continues to serve as a symbol of safety and guidance for those navigating the waters off the coast of Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Lighthouse Specs

  • Originally Constructed: 1827
  • Current Tower Constructed: 1875
  • First Lit: 1875 (current tower)
  • Construction: Brick
  • Tower Shape: Square
  • Height: 38 feet
  • Focal Height: 36 feet
  • Markings: White tower with black lantern
  • Characteristic: Green light occulting every 4 seconds
  • Range: 8 nautical miles
  • Status: Active
  • NRHP Number: 87002039

Location

Address: Long Point, Provincetown, Massachusetts
Place GPS Coordinates: 42.033111, -70.168667
Parking GPS Coordinates: 42.033111, -70.168667
Parking Notes: Visitors who are opting to walk out to the lighthouse can park on the side of Province Lands Road near Pilgrims’ First Landing Park in Provincetown. The lighthouse can also be seen by boat or plane.

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