Chatham Lighthouse and Coast Guard Station
|Year first constructed||1808|
|Year first lit||1877 (current structure)|
|Construction||Cast iron plate with brick lining|
|Markings / pattern||White with gray lantern|
|Focal height||80 feet (24 m)|
|Original lens||4th order Fresnel lens|
|Current lens||Carlisle & Finch DCB-224|
|Range||24 nautical miles (44 km; 28 mi)|
|Characteristic||Fl (2) W 10s, lighted continuously|
Chatham Light Station
|Location||Main St., Chatham, Massachusetts|
|Area||2 acres (0.81 ha)|
|Part of||Old Village Historic District (#01001406)|
|MPS||Lighthouses of Massachusetts TR|
|NRHP Reference #|||
|Added to NRHP||June 15, 1987|
|Designated CP||December 17, 2001|
The station was established in 1808, the second light on Cape Cod. To distinguish it from Highland Light, the first Cape Cod light, and to act as a range, twin octagonal 40-foot (12 m) wooden towers were built. They were on skids so that they could be moved to keep them in line with the entrance channel as it shifted. Samuel Nye was appointed as the first Keeper of the Chatham Lights by President Jefferson on October 7, 1808.
- 1841 The wood octagons were replaced with 40-foot (12 m) brick towers
- 1857 Fourth order Fresnel lens installed
- 1879 Current structures, of brick lined cast iron, were built
- 1923 Northern tower of the pair was moved roughly 12 miles (19 km) north to become Nauset Light
- 1939 Chatham Light, which had been kerosene fueled since 1882, was electrified
- 1969 Fresnel lens was replaced with a Carlisle & Finch DCB-224 rotating light generating over 2.8 million candlepower
- 1969 Lantern replaced
- 1982 Automated.
Today, the former keeper's house is an active U.S. Coast Guard station, and on-duty personnel living quarters. Search and Rescue, maritime law enforcement, and Homeland Security missions are carried out here. Flotilla 11-01 of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary operates from this station.
Chatham Light was added to the National Register of Historic Places as Chatham Light Station on June 15, 1987, reference number 87001501.
In popular culture
The Chatham Lighthouse is featured in the film “The Finest Hour.” The film chronicles the US Coast Guard’s rescue of the SS Pendleton in 1952 off the coast of Chatham. All four of the Coast Guard crew received the Coast Guard’s Gold Lifesaving Medal.
The remaining 1877 tower with its original lantern. Note the LARC-V to the right.
- "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Massachusetts". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office.
- 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.
- Rowlett, Russ (2009-09-07). "Lighthouses of the United States: Southeast Massachusetts". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
- National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- "USCG Motor Lifeboat Station Chatham". US Coast Guard.
- Gillespie, Craig (29 January 2016). "The Finest Hours (2016)". The Finest Hours (2016) - Plot Summary. Walt Disney Studios Publicity. Retrieved 10 September 2016.