Images from the Highland Lighthouse (Cape Code Light) in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

The Highland Light (previously known as Cape Cod Light), an active lighthouse on the Cape Cod National Seashore in North Truro, Massachusetts, on the Outer Cape Code, is the oldest and tallest lighthouse on Cape Cod, and the 20th lighthouse built in the USA. It is owned by the National Park Service (a Cape Cod National Seashore property) and cared for by the Highland Museum and Lighthouse, Inc., while the United States Coast Guard operates the light itself. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Highland Light Station.

In 1700, the town of Truro, Massachusetts, nine miles east of Race Point at the tip of Cape Cod, began its history under a different name—one it easily earned: “Dangerfield.” Even in calm weather, fishermen could suddenly find upon approaching land such a swell breaking that they dared not attempt to come ashore.

“I found that it would not do to speak of shipwrecks in the area, for almost every family had lost someone at sea,” Henry David Thoreau would later write about Truro in the December 1864 issue of Atlantic Monthly. “‘Who lives in that house?’ I inquired. ‘Three widows,’ was the reply. The stranger and the inhabitant view the shore with very different eyes. The former may have come to see and admire the ocean in a storm; but the latter looks on it as the scene where his nearest relatives were wrecked.”

Blindingly dense summer fogs lasting till midday that turn (in Thoreau’s words) “one’s beard into a wet napkin about the throat” provide conditions that to this day challenge even the most experienced mariner. The letter Reverend James Freemen wrote petitioning for a lighthouse near Truro stated that in 1794 more vessels were wrecked on the east shore of Truro than in all of Cape Cod.

On May 17th 1796, President George Washington signed the bill, along with $8,000 budget, authorizing a wood lighthouse to warn ships about the dangerous coastline between Cape Ann and Nantucket. It was the first light on Cape Cod, situated on ten acres on the Highlands of North Truro, was usually the first light seen when approaching the entrance of Massachusetts Bay from Europe.

The nation’s first eclipser was installed in the lantern room to differentiate Highland Light from others on the way to Boston, but delays in receiving it pushed the inaugural illumination back to January 15, 1798. With a focal plane of 180 feet above the sea, the light, with its array of lamps and reflectors, had the potential to be seen up to twenty-four miles, but the haze that often hung over the cape reduced the light’s visibility. Sperm whale oil was initially used in the light, but the fuel was later changed to lard.

In 1833, the wood structure was replaced by brick and in 1840 a new lantern and lighting apparatus was installed. In 1857 the lighthouse was declared dangerous and demolished, and for a total cost of $17,000, the current 66 foot brick tower was constructed, with a first order Fresnel lens from Paris. Along with the lighthouse, there was a keeper’s building and a generator shed, both of which can still be seen today.

In 1854, $25,000 was budgeted to rebuild Cape Cod Lighthouse on a proper site and to fit it with the “best approved illuminating apparatus to serve as substitution for three lights at Nauset Beach.”

Construction did not begin until 1856 on a new sixty-six-foot tower and a dwelling for the head keeper and a double-dwelling for his two assistants. The lighthouse was completed in October 1857, for $17,000, which included a new first-order Fresnel lens that produced a fixed white light. Before the addition of the first-order lens, the station had employed just one keeper. The sixty-nine winding steps leading to the lantern room could be quite tricky for man.
In 1873, $5,000 was allocated for the station to receive a first-class Daboll trumpet fog horn that gave blasts of eight seconds, with intervals between them of thirty seconds. A frame engine-house, measuring twelve feet by twenty-four feet, was built for the fog signal along with a fuel shed.

At the turn of the nineteenth century, duplicate four-horsepower oil engines with compressors replaced the old caloric engines, reducing the time needed to produce the first blast of the fog signal from forty-five to ten minutes. In 1929, an electrically operated air oscillator fog signal was installed at the station as mariners complained that the old reed horns could hardly be heard above the heavy surf crashing on the beach below the station. Power for operating the new signal was furnished by a direct-current generator, driven by a four-cycle, internal-combustion engine that ran on kerosene.

On June 6, 1900, Congress appropriated $15,000 for changing the light’s characteristic from fixed to flashing. The new Barbier, Benard & Turenne first-order Fresnel lens had four panels of 0.92 meter focal distance, revolved in mercury, and gave, every five seconds, flashes of about 192,000 candlepower nearly one-half second in duration. While the new lens was being installed, the light from a third-order lens was exhibited atop a temporary tower erected near the lighthouse. After the new light was exhibited on October 10, 1901, the temporary tower was sold at auction.

In 1946, the Fresnel lens was replaced with a Crouse-Hinds, double-drum, rotating DCB-36 aerobeacon, which was in turn replaced during the automation process in 1987 with a Crouse-Hinds DCB-224 rotating beacon. The Fresnel lens was mostly destroyed during its removal, but a piece is on display at the lighthouse.

By the 1960s, the assistant keeper’s double-dwelling and fog horn building had been removed, and Keeper Isaac Small’s original ten acres had shrunk to little more than two. In the early 1990s, erosion seriously threatened the light. While in 1806, the tower had stood 510 feet from the cliff, by 1989, that distance had shrunk to just 128 feet.

Highland Lighthouse attracted visitors even when it was staffed by resident keepers. In 1922, 7,300 people registered at the lighthouse. Highland Museum and Lighthouse, Inc. was formed in 1998 as a non-profit to partner with the National Park Service in running a gift shop in the keeper’s dwelling and in offering tours of the lighthouse. After fifteen years in this role, the non-profit lost its contract due to operational issues, and on January 1, 2014, Eastern National was awarded the contract for operating the lighthouse.
The present location of the lighthouse is not the original site as beach erosion had rendered the original location dangerous. The structure was moved 450 feet (140 m) to the west from the cliff’s edge. The move was undertaken in 1996 at a cost of $1.5 million. The 430-ton structure was successfully moved intact on I-beams greased with Ivory soap.

Formerly a location associated with notable danger, the lighthouse presently is surrounded by an oceanfront golf course, the Highland Golf Course. After an errant golf ball broke a window, they were replaced with unbreakable material. The lighthouse grounds are open year-round on Highland Light Road in Truro, with tours and the museum available by the National Park Service during the summer months.

Highland Light Station is located on Highland Rd. in North Truro. Traveling north on Rte. 6, take the “Cape Cod/Highland Rd.” exit; turn right onto Highland Rd. and follow to the Highland Lighthouse area. Highland Light Station is situated on grounds owned by the National Park Service as part of the Cape Cod National Seashore and is managed by the Truro Historical Society. The grounds are open all year and the lighthouse is open May-October. A trip to the light station allows the visitor to enjoy the Interpretive Center, watch a 10-minute video and climb the lighthouse tower for a small fee. For further information, visit the Truro Historical Society‘s website or call 508-487-1121.

Sources:

Previously posted pictures by Karatzas Images of Lighthouse ‘Highland Light’ can be seen here.

Cape Cod (Highland), MA, LighhouseFriends.com

Maritime History of Massachusetts 

The original (wooden) lighthouse at Highlands, Cape Cod was authorized by America’s first President, George Washington. Current (brick-built) lighthouse had to be moved westward inland by 450 ft due to beach erosion. Cape Cod Light (Highland Light) is a majestic sight under any circumstances. Image credit: Karatzas Images

The original (wooden) lighthouse at Highlands, Cape Cod was authorized by America’s first President, George Washington. Current (brick-built) lighthouse had to be moved westward inland by 450 ft due to beach erosion. Cape Cod Light (Highland Light) is a majestic sight under any circumstances. Image credit: Karatzas Images

The original (wooden) lighthouse at Highlands, Cape Cod was authorized by America’s first President, George Washington. Current (brick-built) lighthouse had to be moved westward inland by 450 ft due to beach erosion. Cape Cod Light (Highland Light) is a majestic sight under any circumstances. Image credit: Karatzas Images

The original (wooden) lighthouse at Highlands, Cape Cod was authorized by America’s first President, George Washington. Current (brick-built) lighthouse had to be moved westward inland by 450 ft due to beach erosion. Cape Cod Light (Highland Light) is a majestic sight under any circumstances. Image credit: Karatzas Images

The original (wooden) lighthouse at Highlands, Cape Cod was authorized by America’s first President, George Washington. Current (brick-built) lighthouse had to be moved westward inland by 450 ft due to beach erosion. Cape Cod Light (Highland Light) is a majestic sight under any circumstances. Image credit: Karatzas Images

The original (wooden) lighthouse at Highlands, Cape Cod was authorized by America’s first President, George Washington. Current (brick-built) lighthouse had to be moved westward inland by 450 ft due to beach erosion. Cape Cod Light (Highland Light) is a majestic sight under any circumstances. Image credit: Karatzas Images

Current (brick-built) lighthouse had to be moved westward inland by 450 ft due to beach erosion and presently is located in the Highland Gulf Course. Cape Cod Light (Highland Light) is a majestic sight under any circumstances. Image credit: Karatzas Images

Current (brick-built) lighthouse had to be moved westward inland by 450 ft due to beach erosion and presently is located in the Highland Gulf Course. Cape Cod Light (Highland Light) is a majestic sight under any circumstances. Image credit: Karatzas Images

The Cape Cod National Seashore facing the Atlantic Ocean; beach erosion is visible. Image credit: Karatzas Images

Current (brick-built) lighthouse had to be moved westward inland by 450 ft due to beach erosion and presently is located in the Highland Gulf Course. Cape Cod Light (Highland Light) is a majestic sight under any circumstances. Image credit: Karatzas Images

The original (wooden) lighthouse at Highlands, Cape Cod was authorized by America’s first President, George Washington. Current (brick-built) lighthouse had to be moved westward inland by 450 ft due to beach erosion. Cape Cod Light (Highland Light) is a majestic sight under any circumstances. Image credit: Karatzas Images

Current (brick-built) lighthouse had to be moved westward inland by 450 ft due to beach erosion and presently is located in the Highland Gulf Course. Cape Cod Light (Highland Light) is a majestic sight under any circumstances. Image credit: Karatzas Images

The original (wooden) lighthouse at Highlands, Cape Cod was authorized by America’s first President, George Washington. Current (brick-built) lighthouse had to be moved westward inland by 450 ft due to beach erosion. Cape Cod Light (Highland Light) is a majestic sight under any circumstances. Image credit: Karatzas Images

Current (brick-built) lighthouse had to be moved westward inland by 450 ft due to beach erosion and presently is located in the Highland Gulf Course. Cape Cod Light (Highland Light) is a majestic sight under any circumstances. Image credit: Karatzas Images

Current (brick-built) lighthouse had to be moved westward inland by 450 ft due to beach erosion and presently is located in the Highland Gulf Course. Cape Cod Light (Highland Light) is a majestic sight under any circumstances. Image credit: Karatzas Images

The original (wooden) lighthouse at Highlands, Cape Cod was authorized by America’s first President, George Washington. Current (brick-built) lighthouse had to be moved westward inland by 450 ft due to beach erosion. Cape Cod Light (Highland Light) is a majestic sight under any circumstances. Image credit: Karatzas Images

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May the Light Be With You!

Karatzas Marine Advisors & Co Wishes You a most Prosperous, Happy New Year!

A traditional and historic means of navigational aids, lighthouses have saved life and property from destruction from nature’s controlling force over human limited power. Built close to treacherous seas and windswept promontories, lighthouses provided visual and acoustic warnings to mariners to impending dangers. Quite often, before automation, lighthouses were manned by light keepers living lives of solitude and sacrifice to ensure that other people were safe. One of the last links to maritime history, lighthouses keep drawing crowds of visitors every year. A sign of hope, a sign of life, a sign of care, a sign of community and inter-dependance, lighthouses have been evocative symbols of mankind conquering nature, of perseverance and resoluteness.

The images in this post were taken in the week between Christmas and New Year in 2017, except for the Highland Light pictures taken in March 2017; the lighthouses are located in the States of Maine, Massachusetts and South Carolina; Maine is approximately 600 miles north of New York and South Carolina and Cape Hatteras approximately 700 miles south of New York. During the time of the shootings, temperatures in Maine were well below freezing; actually at 2 deg F (-16 deg C) at 7am EST on the morning of December 27th; the weather in South Carolina still cold but minimally sub-freezing.

We hope that you enjoy the pictures herewith and we sincerely hope that they bring light and hope and strength and inspiration to you and loved ones, at home and at work, in 2018!

Built in 1847 and standing 88 ft (27m) tall, the Cape Neddick Light (also known as Nubble Light and Cape Neck) is listed in the National Register of Historic Places in the USA. The Voyager spacecraft, which carries photographs of Earth’s most prominent man-made structures and natural features, should it fall into the hands of intelligent extraterrestrials, includes a photo of Nubble Light with images of the Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

Built in 1847 and standing 88 ft (27m) tall, the Cape Neddick Light (also known as Nubble Light and Cape Neck) is listed in the National Register of Historic Places in the USA. The Voyager spacecraft, which carries photographs of Earth’s most prominent man-made structures and natural features, should it fall into the hands of intelligent extraterrestrials, includes a photo of Nubble Light with images of the Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

Built in 1847 and standing 88 ft (27m) tall, the Cape Neddick Light (also known as Nubble Light and Cape Neck) is listed in the National Register of Historic Places in the USA. The Voyager spacecraft, which carries photographs of Earth’s most prominent man-made structures and natural features, should it fall into the hands of intelligent extraterrestrials, includes a photo of Nubble Light with images of the Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

Built in 1847 and standing 88 ft (27m) tall, the Cape Neddick Light (also known as Nubble Light and Cape Neck) is listed in the National Register of Historic Places in the USA. The Voyager spacecraft, which carries photographs of Earth’s most prominent man-made structures and natural features, should it fall into the hands of intelligent extraterrestrials, includes a photo of Nubble Light with images of the Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

Construction began in 1787 under the administration of the first president of the USA George Washington, Portland Head Light, also known as the Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse, is a historic lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. The light station sits on a head of land at the entrance of the primary shipping channel into Portland Harbor, which is within Casco Bay in the Gulf of Maine. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

Construction began in 1787 under the administration of the first president of the USA George Washington, Portland Head Light, also known as the Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse, is a historic lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. The light station sits on a head of land at the entrance of the primary shipping channel into Portland Harbor, which is within Casco Bay in the Gulf of Maine. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

Construction began in 1787 under the administration of the first president of the USA George Washington, Portland Head Light, also known as the Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse, is a historic lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. The light station sits on a head of land at the entrance of the primary shipping channel into Portland Harbor, which is within Casco Bay in the Gulf of Maine. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

The Portland Breakwater Light (also called Bug Light) was originally built in 1855. The current structure dates back to 1875 and is made of curved cast-iron plates whose seams are disguised by six decorative Corinthian columns. Its design was inspired by the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

The Portland Breakwater Light (also called Bug Light) was originally built in 1855. The current structure dates back to 1875 and is made of curved cast-iron plates whose seams are disguised by six decorative Corinthian columns. Its design was inspired by the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

The Portland Breakwater Light (also called Bug Light) was originally built in 1855. The current structure dates back to 1875 and is made of curved cast-iron plates whose seams are disguised by six decorative Corinthian columns. Its design was inspired by the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse is located within Acadia National Park in the southwest portion of Mount Desert Island, Maine, marking the entrance to Bass Harbor and Blue Hill Bay. Originally was constructed in 1858, Today, the keeper’s house is a private residence for a local Coast Guard member and his family. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse is located within Acadia National Park in the southwest portion of Mount Desert Island, Maine, marking the entrance to Bass Harbor and Blue Hill Bay. Originally was constructed in 1858, Today, the keeper’s house is a private residence for a local Coast Guard member and his family. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

The Fort Point Light, also known as Fort Point Light Station, is located in Fort Point State Park, in Stockton Springs, Maine. The present lighthouse (focal height of 88 ft (27 m)) dates to 1857, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

The Fort Point Light, also known as Fort Point Light Station, is located in Fort Point State Park, in Stockton Springs, Maine. The present lighthouse (focal height of 88 ft (27 m)) dates to 1857, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

The Fort Point Light, also known as Fort Point Light Station, is located in Fort Point State Park, in Stockton Springs, Maine. The present lighthouse (focal height of 88 ft (27 m)) dates to 1857, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

The Highland Light (previously known as Cape Cod Light) is an active lighthouse on the Cape Cod National Seashore in North Truro, Massachusetts. Originally commissioned by the first president of the United States George Washington in 1797, The current tower was erected in 1857. It is the oldest and tallest lighthouse on Cape Cod. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

The Highland Light (previously known as Cape Cod Light) is an active lighthouse on the Cape Cod National Seashore in North Truro, Massachusetts. Originally commissioned by the first president of the United States George Washington in 1797, The current tower was erected in 1857. It is the oldest and tallest lighthouse on Cape Cod. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

The Highland Light (previously known as Cape Cod Light) is an active lighthouse on the Cape Cod National Seashore in North Truro, Massachusetts. Originally commissioned by the first president of the United States George Washington in 1797, The current tower was erected in 1857. It is the oldest and tallest lighthouse on Cape Cod. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

The Cape Hatteras Light is located on Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks in the town of Buxton, North Carolina and is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Standing 210 high (64 m), the lighthouse is beloved for its distinctive coloring and its relocation 0.5km inland in 1999 due to beach erosion. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

The Cape Hatteras Light is located on Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks in the town of Buxton, North Carolina and is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Standing 210 high (64 m), the lighthouse is beloved for its distinctive coloring and its relocation 0.5km inland in 1999 due to beach erosion. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

The Cape Hatteras Light is located on Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks in the town of Buxton, North Carolina and is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Standing 210 high (64 m), the lighthouse is beloved for its distinctive coloring and its relocation 0.5km inland in 1999 due to beach erosion. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

The Cape Hatteras Light is located on Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks in the town of Buxton, North Carolina and is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Standing 210 high (64 m), the lighthouse is beloved for its distinctive coloring and its relocation 0.5km inland in 1999 due to beach erosion. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

The Bodie Island Lighthouse is located in Bodie Island on the Outer Banks in North Carolina and was built in 1872. It stands 156 feet (48 m) tall and is located on the Roanoke Sound side of the first island that is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The lighthouse is just south of Nags Head, approximately one hour north of the Cape Hatteras Light; note black-and-white horizontal patterns to distinguish from the spiral Cape Hatteras Lighthouse coloring. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

The Bodie Island Lighthouse is located in Bodie Island on the Outer Banks in North Carolina and was built in 1872. It stands 156 feet (48 m) tall and is located on the Roanoke Sound side of the first island that is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The lighthouse is just south of Nags Head, approximately one hour north of the Cape Hatteras Light; note black-and-white horizontal patterns to distinguish from the spiral Cape Hatteras Lighthouse coloring. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

The Bodie Island Lighthouse is located in Bodie Island on the Outer Banks in North Carolina and was built in 1872. It stands 156 feet (48 m) tall and is located on the Roanoke Sound side of the first island that is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The lighthouse is just south of Nags Head, approximately one hour north of the Cape Hatteras Light; note black-and-white horizontal patterns to distinguish from the spiral Cape Hatteras Lighthouse coloring. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

The Currituck Beach Light is located on the Outer Banks in Corolla, North Carolina. The lighthouse is constructed of brick and is not painted in order to be distinguished from the Bodie Island and Cape Hatteras Lights that are in the vicinity. The Currituck Beach Light was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1973. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

The Currituck Beach Light is located on the Outer Banks in Corolla, North Carolina. The lighthouse is constructed of brick and is not painted in order to be distinguished from the Bodie Island and Cape Hatteras Lights that are in the vicinity. The Currituck Beach Light was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1973. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

The Currituck Beach Light is located on the Outer Banks in Corolla, North Carolina. The lighthouse is constructed of brick and is not painted in order to be distinguished from the Bodie Island and Cape Hatteras Lights that are in the vicinity. The Currituck Beach Light was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1973. Image credit: Karatzas Images.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMERS:  Vessel description is provided in good faith and is believed to be correct and accurate but no assurances, warranties or representations are made herewith. Vessel description is provided for entertainment  purposes only. We have no responsibility whatsoever for any errors / omissions in vessel description.

Access to this blog signifies the reader’s irrevocable acceptance of this disclaimer. No part of this blog can be reproduced by any means and under any circumstances, whatsoever, in whole or in part, without proper attribution or the consent of the copyright and trademark holders of this website. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that information herewithin has been received from sources believed to be reliable and such information is believed to be accurate at the time of publishing, no warranties or assurances whatsoever are made in reference to accuracy or completeness of said information, and no liability whatsoever will be accepted for taking or failing to take any action upon any information contained in any part of this website.  Thank you for the consideration.