Race Point Lighthouse

Description

Race Point Light is a beautiful and historic lighthouse in Provincetown, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod.

Provincetown residents requested a lighthouse be built at Race Point as early as 1808. Vessels navigating the bars near Race Point on Cape Cod’s northern tip faced perilous conditions. Eventually, funding was secured for the lighthouse and construction began. On November 5, 1816, the Race Point Lighthouse was lit for the first time. The rubblestone tower’s light stood 25 feet above sea level and one of the first revolving lights – an attempt to distinguish it from other Cape Cod lighthouses.

Several additions came after the lighthouse was first erected. A Keeper’s House was built in 1840. A fog bell was installed at Race Point in 1852. A fourth-order Fresnel lens was installed in the tower three years later. The bell was replaced in 1873 by a steam-powered fog signal housed in a new building.

The initial tower was demolished in 1876, and the current 45-foot-tall iron-plated tower and keeper’s quarters were built in its place. The new structures are much stronger than the originals.  The property is managed by the American Lighthouse Foundation, which rents out two buildings for overnight stays. The Coast Guard is in charge of the actual light. The site light can be reached by walking 45 minutes over sand or by using a four-wheel-drive vehicle with a National Park Service Oversand Permit.

Looking for more awesome spots to explore in Massachusetts? Check out the GoXplr Massachusetts Map at goxplr.com/map/massachusetts

 

Lighthouse Specs

  • Originally constructed: 1816
  • Current tower constructed: 1876
  • First lit: 1876 (current structure)
  • Construction: Iron plate with brick interior
  • Tower shape: Conical
  • Height: 45 feet (14 m)
  • Focal height: 41 feet (12 m)
  • Markings: White with black lantern
  • Characteristic: Flashing white light every 10 seconds (Fl W 10s)
  • Range: 16 nautical miles (30 km; 18 mi)
  • Status: Active
  • NRHP number: 87001482

Location

  • Address: Race Point Lighthouse
  • Town: Provincetown
  • State: Massachusetts
  • GPS: Lat 42.0622 Lng -70.24308
  • Parking notes: No parking at Race Point Lighthouse. Most visitors walk to the lighthouse on the beach, but it can also be accessed via an oversand vehicle path. Visitors can walk the path or acquire a car pass to drive.
  • Parking directions: HERE
  • Location directions: HERE

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