Scenic USA - Massachusetts

Nauset Lighthouse

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Nauset Lighthouse - Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

     The lighthouse, a big part of New Englandís maritime heritage, can also be viewed as an icon of Massachusetts and especially Cape Cod. Out on the peninsula, more than a Original Three Sisters Lighthouses dozen lighthouses are still maintained along the coast. And here just north of the Cape Cod elbow, the Nauset Light is one of the most familiar sights, seen on license plates, potato chip bags, and countless works of art and gift shop items. Stepping back in time and looking into the Nauset Lighthouse history, it all began with the addition of three lighthouses.
     Hoping to avoid confusion with nearby light-stations, a row of three small 15 foot brick lighthouses were construction along Nauset Beach in 1838. Spaced 150 feet apart, the trio soon earned the nickname of the Three Sisters of Nauset. Although the need for three lighthouses always remained in question, the eroding coastline required the sisters to be moved in 1911. Utilizing only one of the towers, the Three Sisters Lighthousesremaining lighthouses were sold and converted into cottages. With the remaining sister in poor condition, one of the twin lighthouses of Chatham was moved to Eastham to take its place. By 1943, the cast-iron tower received its classic white and red paint scheme, increasing its daytime visibility. Once again, erosion placed the Nauset Light in jeopardy. Failing to move the U.S. Coast Guard into action, local residents could not imagine their beloved lighthouse tumbling over a cliff in the sea. The Nauset Light Preservation Society was formed in 1995, rescuing the lighthouse in November 1996. The lighthouse was carefully moved 336 feet inland from the old site.
     Today, the lighthouse is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, administered by the National Parks Service. The Nauset Light Preservation Society continues its role as guardian of the lighthouse, providing maintenance, conducting tours and maintaining an endowment fund. The Three Sisters have also been returned to public domain, found within a short walk from the Nauset Light.

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