Friends of Nobska Light

Nobska Lighthouse

Restoration of Nobska Lighthouse

The “Friends of Nobska Light”was founded in 2015, when the United States Coast Guard made the decision to sell the property. Several organizations were interested in taking over the project, however, the cost of restoring the tower and adjacent buildings was daunting. As a result The “Friends of Nobska Light” was founded. The group of dedicated members have worked to raise the $4,000,000 needed to complete the task.

The hope is that the lighthouse will be a community resource.  The first floor of the houses will become a museum that will display maritime logs and artifacts and the tower will be open for tours. In addition, the grounds will be open for exploration and relaxation.

On September 7th the restoration commenced. The first phase will be the refurbishing of the tower itself. The tower now encircled with scaffolding and is completely shrouded with a protective covering to allow the workers to work regardless of the weather.  The surface will be sand blasted and painted. The windows have been taken out and will be repaired, painted and reinstalled. The tower is scheduled for completion in November. That will be in plenty of time for it to be decorated and host the “Holidays by the Sea” weekend caroling gathering.

For more information about this project:
www.friendsofnobska.org

Like them on facebook:
Facebook.com/NobskaLight

Friends of Nobska Light
P.O. Box
Falmouth, MA 02541

Originally called “Nobsque” Light, the Nobska Lighthouse is located at the entrance to Woods Hole Harbor. It was built  as a navigation guide for vessels traveling through the busy Vineyard Sound on their way to and from the neighboring islands and Buzzards Bay. The current structure, was constructed in 1876, is still active today. It was owned by the Coast Guard until 2015.

Nobska Lighthouse
Nobska Point Light

The original light was established in 1829 for approximately $2,250 but because of its faulty design, the structure put too much weight on the quarters below causing terrible leaks. The newly constructed tower stands 40 feet tall and is 87 feet above sea level. It was transported in four different sections to Falmouth from Chelsea, Massachusetts where it was actually put together. In addition to the tower, the keeper’s house, garage, storage shed, and oil house also remain intact from their late 19th century construction. More changes occurred to the lighthouse in 1888 when its fifth-order Fresnel lens was replaced with a more effective fourth-order Fresnel lens. The lighthouse itself is an iron structure with a brick lining. It is painted a classic Cape Cod white with the lantern or uppermost part of the structure, painted black.

Nobska Lighthouse Light
Nobska Lighthouse Light

Nobska has a flashing white light and red vector. This white light can be seen up to 17 miles away and is flashed every six seconds. A fog signal was incorporated into the structure in 1910 and is used when the visibility on the water drops below five miles because of fog or heavy weather. When this visibility drops, the signal lets out two strong, deep blasts every thirty seconds to warn nearby vessels. During the 19th century, one of the keeper’s duties was to record the number of vessels traveling past the lighthouse each day. It was such a busy waterway, that on one day in 1864, the vessel count was a whopping one hundred eighty eight, most of which were passing schooners.

Although the original lighthouse proved not to be architecturally sound, the first keeper, Peter Daggett, was praised for keeping the lighthouse in excellent condition during the years he was in charge.  Daggett was also remembered for being a quiet man but apparently made constant complaints about the low quality of the oil he received for the light. He remained keeper of Nobska until 1849.

Civilian keepers continued the serve at Nobska even after the merge with the Coast Guard in 1939. It wasn’t until 1973 that the Coast Guard officially took over the Nobska Light post. This occurred when Mr. Joseph Hindley Jr., the last civilian keeper of Nobska Light, retired. After that transition, the keeper’s house became the home to the Commander of Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England until 2015. The lighthouse continues to be both a breathtaking historic tower and also a useful navigational aid for mariners.


Cape Cod's Stowe Room, A
Harriet Beecher Stowe room
Cape Cod's Emily Dickinson Room Five
Cape Cod’s Emily Dickinson Room Five

While all of our guestrooms have their own charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day sightseeing the lighthouses of Cape Cod, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room. These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jacuzzi-style tubs and a relaxing stay before and after your day.

Cape Cod’s Hyannis Harbor Lighthouse

Hyannis Harbor Light

By Mary Moran

Hyannis, a village in the town of Barnstable and the highest populated area on Cape Cod, was once a busy and successful port for both fishing and trade in the 1800’s. It is located in what is called the Mid Cape area. With maritime traffic increasing, the need for a navigational aid in the harbor became apparent. The Point Gammon Light, built at the southern approach to the harbor in 1816, guided vessels to the harbor, but another light was needed for the dangerous areas inside the harbor itself. Daniel Snow Hallett, a Barnstable local, did his best to provide his own light for the waters by hanging a lamp in the window of a beach shack that he built at his own expense. Unfortunately, his efforts weren’t very effective and in 1848, $2,000 was appropriated by Congress to erect a proper lighthouse in the South Hyannis Harbor area.

In May of the following year, the freshly built Hyannis Harbor Light, a 19-foot conical brick tower, was put into service. The structure consisted of five oil lamps and parabolic reflectors that provided a fixed white light 43 feet above the water level. The lighthouse also produced a red sector to warn passing vessels away from the dangerous Southwest Shoal.The Hyannis Harbor Light property expanded in 1851 when another $800 was given in order to build a house for a lighthouse keeper. The wooden structure was built beside the lighthouse, connected by a convenient covered walkway. The position of keeper was given to John H. Lothrop in 1871 but was soon taken over by his son, Alonzo, in 1878 after Lothrop’s death only eight years into his duty. Alonzo Lothrop remained at his inherited post for a little over 20 years. He resigned from the position in 1899. After his resignation, the keeper position was given to a man named Captain John Peak. Peak had come from a long legacy of lighthouse keepers and was known for letting the local children help with his lighthouse chores and even giving private sailing lessons to the children who were able to swim. Almost fifteen years after Peak’s retirement in 1915, the Hyannis Harbor Light was discontinued and its lantern was removed from the structure. The lighthouse, keeper’s house, and property were sold at auction to A.W. Fuller for $7,007. Fuller then sold the property and throughout the years the old lighthouse was passed through the hands of many owners. Current owners, Janice Hyland and Alan Granby, built their own unique top to the lighthouse tower. Although it is anything but traditional, it is reportedly an excellent spot to catch a glorious Cape Cod sunset. In addition to the original lighthouse, the keeper’s house (1849) and oil house (1902) both remain standing to this day, and although the property is privately owned, one can get a great view of the old tower by taking a stroll east on Keyes Beach in Hyannis.

Hyannis is just twenty miles from the Palmer House Inn. While in Hyannis one can visit the JFK Cape Cod Museum that commemorates the president’s life on the Cape. There are also harbor cruises where visitors view the harbor and the Kennedy compound buildings and grounds.


Cape Cod's Stowe Room, A
Harriet Beecher Stowe room
Cape Cod's Roosevelt Room, B
Cape Cod’s Roosevelt Room, B

While all of the bedchambers at the Palmer House have their own romantic charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day of sightseeing on Cape Cod, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room. These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jacuzzi-style tubs for a relaxing stay before and after your day.


Mary Moran is a Falmouth native and knowledgable about Cape Cod. In addition to writing for the Palmer House Inn, she’s also frequently at the inn and available  to answer quest’s questions. She enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time exploring Falmouth’s coastal waterways.

Cape Cod’s Bass River Light

Bass River Light

By Mary Moran

Bass River light, also known as the West Dennis Light, is located on the eastern side of Bass River in the Cape Cod town of Dennis. Dennis sits next to the waters of Nantucket Sound. Dennis became a prosperous fishing town in the 19th century. At that time there was a salt works right in the center of town and a variety of facilities for the construction of small boats. Before the lighthouse was built, a local man by the name of Warren Crowell created his own “lighthouse” to help captains navigate the area. He did this by placing a lamp in the attic window of his home. Local captains would donate money to Crowell on a monthly basis to help provide funds for the cost of the oil that kept the lamp burning. Eventually, it was decided that the small lamp in Crowell’s attic was no longer sufficient to guide vessels safely, because the  traffic in the local waters had begun to increase significantly. In 1854, the land was purchased for a real lighthouse and on April 30, 1855, the Bass River Light went into service. The Bass River Light’s lantern was placed on top of the newly built, two-story keeper’s house. The structure was 44 feet tall and displayed a continuous white light out of its fifth-order Fresnel lens. The person assigned to the duty of being the first lighthouse keeper was none other than Warren Crowell himself. He remained at his post until 1863, when he went to fight in the Civil War. In combat, he was taken prisoner in Virginia after being injured and finally returned to the lighthouse in the 1870’s. Unfortunately, need for the lighthouse decreased after both the opening of the Cape Cod Canal and the placement of an automatic light on the west side of Bass River. The Bass River light was ultimately deemed unnecessary and was put out on June 15, 1914. After the light was dark at Bass River, the property was sold at auction to a Mr. Harry K. Noyes. Noyes used the keeper’s house as a seasonal home and expanded the property greatly. Then, in 1938, the property was purchased by State Senator Everett Stone and his wife Gladys. The couple decided to turn the home into an Inn where they could entertain friends, family and vacationers alike. Guests could rent a room for a night or two. One night’s stay at the Inn, including all meals, was only $5 dollars! As the years went on, the business continued to grow. To this day the Stone family owns the Bass River Lighthouse and its property. It is now a fully functioning Inn and restaurant. It is open seasonally from spring to fall with a large summer staff of around ninety employees. The Stone family also took the initiative to relight the famous lighthouse in 1989. Each year, from August 7th – National Lighthouse Day, you can still see the flashing white light shining from the 300 mm optic lens in the Bass River tower. It serves as a seasonal aid to navigation. This charming lighthouse and restaurant is about an hour’s drive east of  the Palmer House Inn.

 


Cape Cod's Stowe Room, A
Harriet Beecher Stowe room
Cape Cod's Roosevelt Room, B
Cape Cod’s Roosevelt Room, B

While all of the bedchambers at the Palmer House have their own romantic charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day of adventures on Cape Cod, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room. These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jacuzzi-style tubs for a relaxing stay before and after your day.


Mary Moran is a Falmouth native and knowledgeable about Cape Cod. In addition to writing for the Palmer House Inn, she’s also frequently at the inn and available  to answer quest’s questions. She enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time exploring Falmouth’s coastal waterways.