Nauset Lighthouse

Description

Nauset Lighthouse, officially Nauset Beach Light, is a historic lighthouse located on the Cape Cod National Seashore in Eastham, Massachusetts. 

The tower that became Nauset Light was built in 1877 as one of two towers in the nearby town of Chatham. It was relocated to Eastham in 1923 to replace the decommissioned Three Sisters of Nauset, three small wood lighthouses. The three were later relocated to a small plot of land about 1,000 feet west of the Nauset Lighthouse. The top section of the tower at Nauset Light was painted red in the 1940s, giving it its iconic appearance. The Nauset Lighthouse is 48 feet tall and constructed of cast iron with a brick lining. The light’s Fresnel lens was replaced in 1981 by two rotating aero beacons. The signal was modified from three white flashes to one red and one white flash with 5-second intervals.

Nauset Light was less than 50 feet from the edge of the 70-foot cliff on which it stood by the early 1990s due to coastal erosion. The Coast Guard suggested taking the lighthouse out of service in 1993. The non-profit Nauset Light Preservation Society was established and sponsored in response to a large public outcry. The non-profit leased the lighthouse from the Coast Guard in 1995. In November 1996, the Society arranged for the tower and the brick oil house to be relocated 336 feet west of their original location – which was only 37 feet from the cliff’s edge at the time.

The light was again lit on May 10, 1997, at its new location. On May 10, 1997, the light was re-lit in its new location. The Coast Guard ceded control of the lighthouse to the National Park Service during the ceremony, The day-to-day operations were taken over by the Nauset Light Preservation Society. Nauset Lighthouse is expected to be safe for another 30 years in its new location.

Since May 24, 2004, the National Park Service has operated the light as a private navigation aid, while the Society has covered all site expenses through membership sales and donations. The grounds are open to the public every day. From May to late October, visitors can tour the light and the oil house on Sundays, as well as on Wednesdays in July and August.

Fun fact! The logo of Cape Cod Potato Chips is Nauset Lighthouse and it appears on all their packages. The lighthouse also is featured on the Massachusetts “Cape Cod & Islands” charitable organization license plate. Sales of these license plates fund hundreds of organizations and programs.

Massachusetts is home to hundreds of amazing spots to explore! Find more locations on the GoXplr Massachusetts Map at goxplr.com/map/massachusetts

 

Lighthouse Specs

  • Originally constructed: 1877
  • First lit: 1923 in Eastham
  • Construction: Cast iron with brick lining
  • Tower shape: Conical
  • Height: 48 feet (15 m)
  • Focal height: 120 feet (37 m)
  • Markings: Upper red, lower white with black lantern
  • Characteristic: Alt white and red 10s
  • Range: White 24 nautical miles (44 km; 28 mi), Red 20 nautical miles (37 km; 23 mi)
  • Status: Active
  • NRHP number: 87001484

Location

  • Address: Nauset Light Beach Rd
  • Town: Eastham
  • State: Massachusetts
  • GPS: Lat 41.86012 Lng -69.95298
  • Parking notes: There is a large public parking lot right in front of the lighthouse. The parking lot has a daily fee of $25 per car. There are also many bike racks. Furthermore, there is 30 minutes free parking located along Cable Rd, near the Three Sisters Lighthouses.
  • Parking directions: HERE
  • Location directions: HERE

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