Nauset Light

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Nauset Beach Light
Nauset Light W.jpg
Nauset Light and lightkeeper's house
Nauset Light is located in Cape Cod
Nauset Light
Location Nauset Beach, Eastham, Massachusetts
Coordinates 41°51′36.5″N 69°57′10.6″W / 41.860139°N 69.952944°W / 41.860139; -69.952944Coordinates: 41°51′36.5″N 69°57′10.6″W / 41.860139°N 69.952944°W / 41.860139; -69.952944
Year first constructed 1838
Year first lit 1877 (current tower in Chatham)
1923 (current tower here)
Automated 1955
Deactivated 1996-97
now a private aid
Foundation Concrete
Construction Cast iron with brick lining
Tower shape Conical
Markings / pattern Upper red, lower white with black lantern
Height 48 feet (15 m)
Focal height 120 feet (37 m)
Original lens 4th order Fresnel lens
Current lens Carlisle & Finch DB-224
Range White 24 nautical miles (44 km; 28 mi), Red 20 nautical miles (37 km; 23 mi)
Characteristic Alt white and red 10s
Fog signal none
Admiralty number J0396
ARLHS number USA-529
USCG number


Nauset Beach Light
Area 1 acre (0.40 ha)
Built 1875
Architectural style Gothic Revival
MPS Lighthouses of Massachusetts TR
NRHP Reference # 87001484[4]
Added to NRHP June 15, 1987

Nauset Light, officially Nauset Beach Light,[1] is a lighthouse in Eastham, Massachusetts. It is a cast iron plate shell lined with brick and stands 48 feet (15 m) high.


Nauset Light was constructed in 1877 and was originally one of two lights in Chatham. It was moved to Eastham in 1923 to replace the Three Sisters of Nauset, three small wood lighthouses that had been decommissioned. They have since been relocated to a small field about 1,000 feet (300 m) west of the Nauset Light.[2] Nauset Light was originally all white, but in the 1940s was painted with the red section at the top, creating the iconic appearance of the lighthouse.[5]

The light was automated and the keeper's house was sold in 1955. The original Fresnel lens removed at that time can still be seen in the Salt Pond Visitor Center of the Cape Cod National Seashore. Due to coastal erosion, by the early 1990s Nauset Light was less than 50 feet (15 m) from the edge of the 70-foot (21 m) cliff on which it stood. In 1993, the Coast Guard proposed decommissioning the light. Following a great public outcry, the non-profit Nauset Light Preservation Society was formed and funded, and in 1995, it leased the lighthouse from the Coast Guard. The organization arranged for the light to be relocated, in November 1996, to a location 336 feet (102 m) west of its original position – which by then was only 37 feet (11 m) from the cliff's edge.[6] The move was accomplished successfully by International Chimney Corporation, which had moved the larger Highland Light a similar distance earlier that year.[6][7]

In 1998, Mary Daubenspeck, who had owned the keeper's house since 1955, agreed to donate it to the National Park Service with the right to live in it for 25 years. It was agreed that the house would be moved from its original location, then only 23 feet (7.0 m) from the edge of the cliff, to a new location near the relocated tower. This was accomplished in October, 1998.[7] At about the same time, the Coast Guard gave the tower to the National Park Service and the Nauset Light Preservation Society agreed to maintain it as a private aid to navigation. Visitors to the Cape Cod National Seashore can tour the tower during the summer months.

The lighthouse is the logo for Cape Cod Potato Chips. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987 as Nauset Beach Light.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b 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. 
  2. ^ a b "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Massachusetts". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office. 
  3. ^ Rowlett, Russ (2010-02-11). "Lighthouses of the United States: Southeast Massachusetts". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 
  4. ^ a b National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  5. ^ "Nauset Light". Cape Cod Lighthouses. 
  6. ^ a b "Lighthouse Moves – Cape Cod National Seashore". National Park Service. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "Nauset Light". The Nauset Light Preservation Society. Retrieved 12 February 2010.