Highland Light

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Highland Light
Highland Light.jpg
Highland Light is located in Cape Cod
Highland Light
Location North Truro, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°2′22.282″N 70°3′39.377″W / 42.03952278°N 70.06093806°W / 42.03952278; -70.06093806Coordinates: 42°2′22.282″N 70°3′39.377″W / 42.03952278°N 70.06093806°W / 42.03952278; -70.06093806
Year first constructed 1797
Year first lit 1857 (current structure)
Automated 1987
Foundation Natural/emplaced
Construction Brick
Tower shape Conical
Markings / pattern White with black lantern
Height 66 feet (20 m)
Focal height 170 feet (52 m)
Original lens 1st order Fresnel lens
Current lens VRB-25
Range 18 nautical miles (33 km; 21 mi)
Characteristic Fl W 5s, lighted continuously
Fog signal none
Admiralty number J0390
ARLHS number USA-110
USCG number


Highland Light Station
Location Off SR 6, Truro, Massachusetts
Area 6.5 acres (2.6 ha)
Built 1857
Architectural style Queen Anne
Governing body NPS
Part of Truro Highlands Historic District (#11000823)
MPS Lighthouses of Massachusetts TR
NRHP Reference # 87001463[4]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP June 15, 1987
Designated CP November 22, 2011

The Highland Light (previously known as Cape Cod Light) is an active lighthouse on the Cape Cod National Seashore in North Truro, Massachusetts. It is the oldest and tallest lighthouse on Cape Cod.[5] The grounds are open year-round, while the light is open to the public from May until late October, with guided tours available. It is owned by the National Park Service, and cared for by the Highland Museum and Lighthouse, Inc., while the United States Coast Guard operates the light itself.[6] The United States Navy ship USS Highland Light (IX-48) was named after the light. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Highland Light Station.[4]


In 1797, a station authorized by George Washington was established at this point on the Cape, with a wood lighthouse to warn ships about the dangerous coastline between Cape Ann and Nantucket. It was the first light on Cape Cod. In 1833, the wood structure was replaced by brick and in 1840 a new lantern and lighting apparatus was installed. In 1857 the lighthouse was declared dangerous and demolished, and the current brick tower was constructed, with a first order Fresnel lens from Paris. Along with the lighthouse, there was a keeper's building and a generator shed, both of which can still be seen today.

In 1932 the lamp was upgraded to a 1000-watt beacon. The Fresnel lens system was replaced by a Carlisle & Finch DCB-224, with a second unit as backup. Unfortunately, the Fresnel lens was largely destroyed when it was removed in 1998, but fragments are on display in the museum on site. Finally, in 1998, a VRB-25 optical system was installed.[3]

The present location of the lighthouse is not the original site. It was in danger of falling down the cliff due to beach erosion, so the structure was moved 450 feet (140 m) to the west. The move was accomplished by International Chimney Corp. of Buffalo, New York and Expert House Movers of Maryland over a period of 18 days in July, 1996.[3] It is now on the grounds of the Highland Golf Course. After an errant golf ball broke a window, they were replaced with unbreakable material.


Images of the Cape Cod (Highland) Light
High-resolution black and white photo of the lighthouse and keeper's house.  Parked in front of the lighthouse is a 1950s van, with a military emblem and the words "United States Coast Guard" stenciled on the driver's door, and on the side of the van is a military advertisement that reads "The U.S. Coast Guard NEEDS MEN! Join Now! No waiting".
The lighthouse is in the background of the photo, and in the foreground is a large rock, or boulder. In the far distance, on the right, is the Pilgrim Monument tower in Provincetown.
The original location of the lighthouse is indicated by the boulder in the foreground. 
Photograph taken from the lantern room of the lighthouse.  In the foreground on the right is the circular lens surrounding the lamp. The background is the view looking out over the lighthouse grounds and the cliff out to the ocean.
The current VRB-25 optical system 
Photo(s) taken on Sept 11, 2014. This is a High Dynamic Range image created by merging 3 exposures of the same shot, the "tone-mapping" the resulting HDR file.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Massachusetts". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office. 
  2. ^ Light List, Volume I, Atlantic Coast, St. Croix River, Maine to Shrewsbury River, New Jersey (PDF). Light List. United States Coast Guard. 2009. p. 7. 
  3. ^ a b c Rowlett, Russ (2009-09-07). "Lighthouses of the United States: Southeast Massachusetts". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 
  4. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  5. ^ Connally, E. A. "Highland Lighthouse" (PDF). Historic American Buildings Survey. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress. p. 1. Retrieved March 9, 2014. 
  6. ^ http://www.capecodlight.org/

External links[edit]