Race Point Light

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Race Point Light
Race Point Lighthouse being painted 2012.jpg
The lighthouse gets a fresh coat of paint in 2012
LocationCape Cod
Coordinates42°3′44.4″N 70°14′34.9″W / 42.062333°N 70.243028°W / 42.062333; -70.243028
Year first constructed1816
Year first lit1876 (current structure)
ConstructionIron plate with brick interior
Tower shapeConical
Markings / patternWhite with black lantern
Tower height45 feet (14 m)
Focal height41 feet (12 m) above mean sea level
Original lensFourth-order Fresnel lens
Current lensVRB-25
Range16 nautical miles (30 km; 18 mi)
CharacteristicFl W 10s
Admiralty numberJ0386
ARLHS numberUSA-680
USCG number1-485[1][2][3]
Heritageplace listed on the National Register of Historic Places Edit this on Wikidata
Race Point Light Station
Race Point Lighthouse, Provincetown, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, 1911 postcard.jpg
1911 postcard
Race Point Light is located in Cape Cod
Race Point Light
LocationRace Point Beach, Provincetown, Massachusetts
Coordinates42°3′44.4″N 70°14′41″W / 42.062333°N 70.24472°W / 42.062333; -70.24472Coordinates: 42°3′44.4″N 70°14′41″W / 42.062333°N 70.24472°W / 42.062333; -70.24472
Arealess than one acre
Architectural styleItalianate
MPSLighthouses of Massachusetts TR
NRHP reference #87001482[4]
Added to NRHPJune 15, 1987

Race Point Light is a historic lighthouse on Cape Cod, in Provincetown, Massachusetts; it is on the National Register of Historic Places. The original tower, first illuminated in 1816, was replaced in 1876 with the current 45-foot tall iron-plated tower and a new keeper's dwelling. The American Lighthouse Foundation operates the property and rents out two buildings for overnight stays. The actual light is maintained by the Coast Guard. The site is reached by walking about 45 minutes over sand; with a National Park Service Oversand Permit, a four-wheel-drive vehicle can be used.[5][6][7]


The original "rubble stone" tower and keepers's house

Race Point Light was first established in 1816, the third light on Cape Cod (after Highland Light (1797) and Chatham Light (1808). The original light was a 25 feet (7.6 m) rubblestone tower that featured one of the earliest rotating beacons, which distinguished it from others on Cape Cod. In 1858 the light got a fourth order Fresnel lens and, in 1874, a second keeper's quarters.

Race Point Lighthouse after 1876

In 1876, after significant deterioration of the original tower, it was replaced with a 45-foot tall cast iron tower lined with brick. The Fresnel lens was installed into the new tower. The original keeper's stone house was removed and replaced with one made of wood. Race Point Light was electrified in 1957. The larger keeper's house was removed in 1960 and the other was updated.[1] The light was automated in 1972.[5]

In 1995 the group updated the keeper's house and began offering rooms for overnight stays in 1998. A solar electrical system was installed in October 2003, and a wind turbine back-up generator was added in 2007. The light now uses a solar-powered VRB-25 optic with 400,000 candlepower, operated by the Coast Guard.[5] Operation of the site is by the American Lighthouse Foundation. Tours are available on the first and third Saturdays from June until October.[6] Both the Keeper's House and the Whistle House are available for overnight rental.[3]

Race Point Light, postcard, circa 1930-1945

Race Point Light was added to the National Register of Historic Places as Race Point Light Station on June 15, 1987, reference number 87001482.[4]

Light keepers[edit]

The following keepers maintained the light over the years, some for a surprisingly short time. Several had been assistant keepers for years prior to their promotion to head keeper.[5]

  • Joshua Dyer (1816 – 1822)
  • Elijah Dyer (1822 – 1847)
  • Lemuel Cook (1847 – 1853)
  • Waterman Crocker (1853 – 1861)
  • Josiah Ghenn (1861 – 1870)
  • James Cushman (1870 – 1885)
  • Thomas V. Mullins (1885 – 1892)
  • Charles A. Havender (1892 – 1904)
  • Samuel S. Smith (1904 – 1909)
  • Roscoe G. Lopaus (1909)
  • Waldo Leighton (1909 – 1915)
  • William H. Lowther (1915 – 1935)
  • James W. Hinckley (1935 – 1937)
  • Javan D. York (1938 – 1942)
  • Theodore M. Koswoski (1944)
  • James O’Brien (1944)
  • Joseph L. Collette (1944)
  • Osborne E. Hallett (1945 – 1955)
  • Elias J. Martinez (1955 – 1956)
  • Gottfried Schiffers (1956 – 1958)
  • Elias J. Martinez (1958 – 1959)
  • Aubrey T. Griggs (1959 – 1960)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Massachusetts". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office. 2009-09-07.
  2. ^ United States Coast Guard (2009). Light List, Volume I, Atlantic Coast, St. Croix River, Maine to Shrewsbury River, New Jersey. p. 6.
  3. ^ a b 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 Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  5. ^ a b c d http://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=523
  6. ^ a b http://www.racepointlighthouse.org/
  7. ^ https://www.nps.gov/caco/cape-cod-national-seashore-oversand-beach-driving.htm

External links[edit]