Nauset Lighthouse was originally the north tower of Chatham Twin Lights (built in 1877). It was moved to Eastham in 1923 to replace the Three Sisters Lights. By the early 1990s coastal erosion threatened the lighthouse and it was going to be dismantled. Instead, the Nauset Light Preservation Society was formed and raised the funds needed to move the light inland in 1996. Today Cape Cod's iconic Nauset Light is a private aid to navigation and is seasonally open to the public for tours.
Backstory and Context
With advances in lighthouse technology, eventually multiple lights at one location were no longer needed. So in 1923 the north tower of Chatham Twin Lights was moved to Eastham to replace the sole remaining Three Sisters light, which was in poor condition. The relocated light was known as Nauset Light and was painted with its (now iconic) red and white daymark in the early 1940s. The light was automated in 1955 when the characteristic flashing of the light was changed to alternating red and white.1
This light served as a beacon to mariners for the next 70 years, but by 1993 coastal erosion threatened the lighthouse and the Coast Guard planned to dismantle it. At this time the Nauset Light Preservation Society was formed to save the light by raising the funds needed to move it further inland. This was accomplished in 1996 when Nauset Light was moved to its current location. The lighthouse became a private aid to navigation, maintained and operated by the Nauset Light Preservation Society.2
Nauset Light has also become an iconic symbol for Cape Cod. It is prominently featured on the Massachusetts' Cape and Islands special license plates and is a prominent part of the logo for Cape Cod Potato Chips. Nauset Light was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.
2. D'Entremont, Jeremy. History of Nauset Light and the Three Sisters, Eastham, Massachusetts. http://www.newenglandlighthouses.net/nauset-light-history.html