Shining the Light on Lighthouses

A trip to Cape Cod is a trip into lighthouse history. Lighthouses span the coasts (and can even be found in the Midwest) but until rotating lenses were introduced, there was no way to really know which light house you were seeing from the water. The rotating lenses are what allows lighthouses to develop a unique flashing pattern that boats could read. But before that, Cape Cod developed a different solution: multiple lighthouses next to each other to create a recognizable light feature.

The original lighthouse appropriated at Chatham was built as two separate lighthouses, 70 feet apart. North of Chatham, at Eastham, three light houses were installed at Nauset Light Station. They were nicknamed the Three Sisters, as from the sea they resembled three women in white dresses and black hats. In 1923, the northern of the two Chatham lighthouses was moved to replace the Three Sisters. You can still visit the Three Sisters today; they have been relocated inland and are a short walk from from Nauset Light.

Chatham, late 1880s, via New England Lighthouses
Chatham 2018
Nauset, formerly the second light at Chatham, 2018
The Three Sisters, via Nauset Light Preservation Society
The Three Sisters 2018


Sources and Further Reading:

I previously wrote about the Admiralty Head Lighthouse in Puget Sound here.

I will always detour for a lighthouse. The Midwest has them too! See:

The history of Chatham Light from New England Lighthouses

The website for the Nauset Light Preservation Society

The Three Sisters Lighthouses, Cape Cod National Seashore

Sankaty Head Light, Nantucket
East Chop Light, Oak Bluffs, MA
Newport, RI

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