Chatham Light and Coast Guard Station (2007)
|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 #||87001501 |
|Added to NRHP||June 15, 1987|
|Designated CP||December 17, 2001|
|Heritage||place listed on the National Register of Historic Places|
Chatham Lighthouse, known as Twin Lights prior to 1923, is a lighthouse in Chatham, Massachusetts, near the "elbow" of Cape Cod. The original station, close to the shore, was built in 1808 with two wooden towers that were replaced in 1841 in spite of questions as to why a single tower would not be adequate. In 1877, two new towers, made of cast iron rings, replaced those. One of the towers was moved to the Eastham area and became Nauset Light in 1923.
The station was established in 1808; it was the second light station 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. The light had an interesting history afterwards.
- 1841 The wood octagonal towers are replaced with two 40-foot (12 m) brick towers
- 1857 Fourth order Fresnel lenses are installed, fueled by lard oil
- 1877 New twin towers of brick lined cast iron and a keeper's dwelling are built further from the shore, because of concerns caused by erosion
- 1893 A brick oil house is added
- 1923 Northern tower of the pair is moved roughly 12 miles (19 km) north to become Nauset Light
- 1939 Chatham Light, kerosene fueled since 1882, and rotated via a clockwork drive, is converted to electricity; the light remains active during WWII
- 1969 The Fresnel lens is moved to Atwood House Museum, replaced with a Carlisle & Finch rotating light generating over 2.8 million candlepower
- 1982 Automated
- 1983 Aerobeacons installed in the lantern room
- 1993 New DCB-224 aerobeacons are installed
Chatham Light was added to the National Register of Historic Places as Chatham Light Station on June 15, 1987, reference number 87001501.
The following individuals were the principal light keepers over the years.
- Samuel Nye (1808 – 1813)
- Joseph Loveland (1813 – at least 1833)
- Samuel Stinson (at least 1835 – 1839)
- Lot Norton (1839 – 1841)
- Collins Howes (1841 – 1845)
- Simeon Nickerson (1845 – 1848)
- Angeline M. Nickerson (1848 – 1862)
- Charles H. Smith (1862 – 1872)
- Josiah Hardy, Jr. (1872 – 1899)
- Charles H. Hammond (1899 – 1907)
- James T. Allison (1907 – 1928)
- George F. Woodman, Jr. (1928 – 1940)
- George T. Gustavus (1940 – 1945).
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.
In popular culture
The Chatham Lighthouse is featured in the film The Finest Hours depicting 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.
- Anderson, Kraig (2014). "Chatham, MA". Lighthouse Friends. Lighthouse Friends. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
- "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.