Wood End Light Lookout Station is a historic Cape Cod lighthouse in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The lighthouse sits at the southernmost end of the Provincetown Spit at Wood End. It has served as a navigational aid for mariners approaching Provincetown Harbor since 1871.
The construction of a white pyramidal day beacon at Wood End in 1864 aided mariners, although it did not put an end to crashes in the area. The wreckage of the William H. Atwood schooner at Wood End in November 1871 sparked the need for Wood End Lighthouse. Wood End Lighthouse was built after Congress allocated $15,000 for its construction on June 10, 1872. The lighthouse’s fifth-order Fresnel lens was first lit on November 20, 1872, by Keeper Thomas Lowe. Lowe would go on to serve as the keeper of Wood End Light for 25 years. In excellent weather, the red light on the Wood End Lighthouse flashed every fifteen seconds and could be seen from eleven nautical miles away.
The square, pyramidal brick tower at Wood End was painted brown, while the lantern, railing, deck, and ironwork were all painted black. The focal plane of the light was 34 feet above the ground and 45 feet above sea level. The light tower was fifty feet northeast of a one-and-a-half-story cream-colored timber keepers house.
The lighthouse was automated in 1961, with a contemporary aerobeacon placed in the lantern room of the tower. The keeper’s cottage and garage were demolished since they were no longer needed. A power line was extended to the station rather than relying on a generator to power the light. Wood End was one of the first solar-powered lights in the country when solar panels were installed in 1981.
Wood End Lighthouse is still owned by the Coast Guard, but the American Lighthouse Foundation was awarded a license to maintain it in 1998. The Cape Cod Chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation has collaborated with New England Lighthouse Lovers to paint the oil house and lighthouse several times since the agreement was struck. Today, the lighthouse can be reached by boat or by walking along the stone breakwater which was built across the upper end of the Provincetown harbor in 1911.
Looking for more great spots to explore in Massachusetts? Check out the GoXplr Massachusetts Map at goxplr.com/map/massachusetts
- Originally constructed: 1872
- First lit: 1872
- Construction: Brick
- Tower shape: Square pyramid
- Height: 39 feet (12 m)
- Focal height: 45 feet (14 m)
- Markings: White with black lantern (originally painted brown)
- Characteristic: Red flash every 10 seconds (Fl Red 10s)
- Range: 13 nautical miles (24 km; 15 mi)
- Status: Active
- NRHP number: 87001504
- Address: Wood End Light
- Town: Provincetown
- State: Massachusetts
- GPS: Lat 42.02126 Lng -70.19351
- Parking notes: Many visitors access Wood End Light by walking along the Provincetown Causeway. The closest parking lot is located around Pilgrims’ First Landing Park. There are a few dozen free parking spaces around the park which are free.
- Parking directions: HERE
- Location directions: HERE
Tom Riley (store manager) –
Finally made it out to Wood End Light! The walk along the causeway was a lot of fun and seeing the lighthouse up-close was amazing! 5/5 – would recommend!
Tom Riley (store manager) –
Wood’s End Lighthouse in Provincetown, Cape Cod Massachusetts. These snaps by @ebelseth (and edited by me for Massdaytripping IG page) are from his hike out the weekend of Aug 20. Established in 1872, you can reach it by crossing a 1.25-mile-long breakwater (rocks) and then another half mile on the beach. Wear good shoes for traction (there are rises and dips) and check the tides information before you go.
Eric Belseth –
Golden Hour light at Woods End Lighthouse in Provincetown yesterday.
Such a great lighthouse – worth the walk!
Evan Mills –
Cool lighthouse sitting in the dunes on the Cape