Nobska Light is a historic Cape Cod lighthouse in Falmouth, Massachusetts. It sits at the division between Buzzards Bay, Nantucket Sound, and Vineyard Sound.
The light station was founded in 1828, with the first light positioned on top of the keeper’s residence. In 1876, a forty-foot-tall cast-iron tower lined with brick was built, along with a one-and-a-half-story wood-frame keeper’s house. The tower’s sections were cast in Chelsea, Massachusetts, and shipped in four sections. The tower was painted a dark reddish-brown and adorned with miniature lighthouses on top of each baluster that encircled the lantern room. A 125-foot steel radio beacon tower was erected in 1937 next to the lighthouse.
The United States Coast Guard took over maintenance of the lighthouse from the United States Lighthouse Service in 1939, but a civilian lightkeeper remained on site until November 1973. Once the keeper retired, the Coast Guard took full control. It is important to note that before retiring, Joseph Hindley may have been New England’s last civilian lightkeeper!
The lighthouse was automated in 1985 and no lightkeepers were needed anymore. The keepers’ home was converted into the Commanding Officer’s residence for the United States Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England. In 1987, Nobksa Light was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The house was deemed in need of serious maintenance in 2012 since it was basically abandoned.
The US Coast Guard announced its decision to deaccession Nobska Light Station in 2014. A highly anticipated community meeting was held to gauge community interest in preserving the iconic landmark for public enjoyment and use. Friends of Nobska Light was formed by the Falmouth Historical Society, Woods Hole Historical Museum, Woods Hole Community Association, and Highfield Hall & Gardens, as well as numerous individuals. The friends sought to figure out how to best turn the lighthouse into a public destination.
The Friends of Nobska Light submitted a plan for acquiring and fixing up the lighthouse and it was endorsed by the US Coast Guard in collaboration with the Falmouth Board of Selectmen. The Friends secured funding and oversaw the transformation from the keepers’ home and lighthouse to a publicly accessible museum about the maritime history of the area. In April 2017, a quarter-million-dollar restoration occurred on the lighthouse tower. Today, the lighthouse is a great place to stop to learn some history, take photos, have a picnic, go fishing, walk along the shore, and more!
Looking for more great spots to explore in Massachusetts? Check out the GoXplr Massachusetts Map at goxplr.com/map/massachusetts
- Originally constructed: 1829
- Current tower constructed: 1876
- First lit: 1876 (current tower)
- Construction: Iron with brick lining
- Tower shape: Cylindrical
- Height: 40 feet (12 m)
- Focal height: 87 feet (27 m)
- Markings: White with black lantern
- Characteristic: Fl W, 6 sec. Red sector
- Range: White 13 nautical miles (24 km; 15 mi), Red 11 nautical miles (20 km; 13 mi)
- Status: Active
- NRHP number: 87001483
- Address: 233 Nobska Rd
- Town: Falmouth
- State: Massachusetts
- GPS: Lat 41.51578 Lng -70.65515
- Parking notes: Parking at Nobska Lighthouse is extremely limited. There are about 6-8 parking spots at the lighthouse parking lot just off Nobska Road. Additional parking is available along Church Street next to Nobska Beach.
- Parking directions: HERE
- Location directions: HERE
External Website: https://friendsofnobska.org/