Scenic USA - Massachusetts

Chatham Lighthouse

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Chatham Lighthouse - Cape Cod, Massachusetts

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     Cape Cod, a perennial favorite among beachgoers for over a century, is best known for its exceptional seafood, miles and miles of beaches and a string of historic lighthouses.
     The Chatham Lighthouse, located on the elbow of Cape Cod, is nearly surrounded by water. Established during the Jefferson Era in 1808, today's historic lighthouse is a third generation tower, one of a pair of twin lighthouses. The original twins, built as a duo to accommodate the ever shifting channel, were constructed of wood and mounted on skids, becoming moveable range lights in a sense. With inspection reports in 1938 relating the decaying state of the Chatham Twins, replacements followed in 1841.
     Although Chatham Beach is one of the largest and most scenic of the area beaches, its strong currents and tides are responsible for an ever changing coastline and no-swimming areas. When light keepers became alarmed by and ever diminishing bluff line, a new light station, consisting of twin towers, was built further inland in 1877. Not long after, the old south tower dropped over the cliff, followed by the keepers house and north tower.
     Today, the Chatham Lighthouse stands alone. Automated and powered by modern beacons, the light is one of a few that shines continuously. The former keeper's house is occupied by Coast Guard personnel. Although the station is closed to the public, the lighthouse is occasionally open for tours during the summer. Chatham Light's more famous twin was relocated to Nauset Beach, replacing the last of the Three Sisters Lighthouses.

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