Nauset Light – Seeing an Old Familiar Beacon with New Eyes

I hadn’t visited Nauset Light in Eastham in years.


And what a story this glorious beacon has to tell!

The original lighthouse station in Eastham was built in 1838 and comprised of three 15-foot tall brick lighthouse towers named The Three Sisters.

In 1892 because of land erosion The Three Sisters were replaced with three 22-foot tall towers made of wood and moved further inland. Further erosion required the dismantling of the towers in 1911; two were sold at auction and the third moved back even further, attached to the lighthouse keeper’s house and installed with a Fresnel lens.

Yet that is still not the end of the story!

In 1923 the wooden lighthouse in Eastham was retired and replaced with a 48-foot high brick-lined cast iron tower that had been moved over from Chatham; twin to the Chatham Lighthouse that is still there today.

The Light was repainted in the 1940’s in its familiar red and white colors. Potato chip lovers will recognize it as the lighthouse used in the logo for Cape Cod Potato Chips!  😉


Yet standing there, after an absence of many years, the only thing I could think of was how tall it seemed back when I was a little girl standing in that very same spot!


And with my new passion for photography, it was as if I were seeing it all for the very first time.


Some things were new – like the two rotating aerobeacons that had replaced the Fresnel lens in 1981.

I was mesmerized as I watched it flash first red…


Then white.

Red, then white.


And I noticed that when you stood in just the right spot, right up close to the base of the tower and looked up…


You could see through the window on the lower white level of the tower…


Straight through to blue sky out the red-painted window one level up on the other side!  😉


I probably loved the black lantern top the most…


With the tiny porthole windows just below it…


And the iron guard rail at the very top…


With its dozen or so finials pointing skyward.


As we turned to head back down the hill it felt like I had just visited with a very dear, very old friend.

One that I hoped to visit again and this time — much, much sooner!  😉


Note: To learn more about the fascinating history of Nauset Light please visit the Nauset Light website.

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