Last Visited: August, 2000
The Highland Light (previously known as Cape Cod Light) is a working lighthouse on the Cape Cod National Seashore in North Truro, Massachusetts. It is the oldest and tallest lighthouse on Cape Cod. The grounds are open year round, while the light is open to the public from May until late October, with guided tours available. It is owned by the National Park Service, and cared for by the Highland Museum and Lighthouse Inc., while the United States Coast Guard operates the light itself. The United States Navy ship USS Highland Light (IX-48) was named after the light. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Highland Light Station.
In 1797, a station authorized by George Washington was established at this point on the Cape, with a wood lighthouse to warn ships about the dangerous coastline between Cape Ann and Nantucket. It was the first light on Cape Cod. 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 the current 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 1932 the lamp was upgraded to a 1000 watt beacon. The Fresnel lens system was replaced by a Carlisle & Finch DCB-224, with a second unit as backup. Unfortunately, the Fresnel lens was largely destroyed when it was removed in 1998, but fragments are on display in the museum on site. Finally, in 1998, a VRB-25 optical system was installed.
The present location of the lighthouse is not the original site. It was in danger of falling down the cliff due to beach erosion, so the structure was moved 450 feet (140m) to the west. The move was accomplished by International Chimney Corp. of Buffalo, New York and Expert House Movers of Maryland over a period of 18 days in July, 1996. It is now on the grounds of the Highland Golf Course. After an errant golf ball broke a window, they were replaced with unbreakable material.
It's been a while since we last visited Highland Light and since that time the move has completed and the lighthouse and house are in their new location.
Nearest Address: 27 Highland Light Road, North Truro, MA
- Once on Cape Cod get onto Route 6. Follow Route 6 past Chatham and Eastham into Truro.
- Once in Truro take a right onto Aldrich Road (which appears to then become S. Highland Road).
- Follow Aldrich/S. Highland Rd. for about 1-1.5 miles. Highland Lighthouse will be on your right. There's a golf course just beyond it so if you get to the golf course you went too far. :-)
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