Three Sisters of Nauset (Twin Lights)

[photo] Three Sisters of Nauset (Twin Lights)
Photos by Jeremy D'Entremont,
The Three Sisters of Nauset Light Station was established in 1838 on Nauset Beach in Eastham. The light station originally consisted of a keeper's dwelling and three identical, 15-foot tall brick towers intended to differentiate it from other nearby lights. Each tower received a sixth-order Fresnel lens in 1856, which were subsequently upgraded to larger fourth-order lenses in 1873. A new keeper's dwelling was built in 1875. By 1890, the three towers stood dangerously close to the edge of an eroding bluff. Three, identical wooden towers (constructed further back from the cliff) replaced the original towers in 1892. A new oil house was also built at this time.

Historic view of Three Sisters of Nauset
Photo courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard

The 22-foot tall towers stood 150 feet apart. They were painted white and topped with lanterns and fourth-order lenses, which were removed from the original towers. Unfortunately, the cliff continued to erode until it came within eight feet of the northernmost tower in 1911. At this time the Lighthouse Service decided to discontinue the multiple lights, removing two of the towers from the site, and moving the remaining tower further back and attaching it to the keeper's house. In 1918, the unused towers were sold into private ownership, where they were incorporated into a summer cottage in Eastham.

By 1923, the remaining Sister was in poor condition. Rather then build a new tower, one of the twin towers at Chatham Light Station was moved from Chatham to Eastham and attached to a concrete foundation. Placed inside the lantern room was the fourth-order lens from the last tower of the Three Sisters Light Station. The Three Sisters keeper's house was moved to the site of the new tower, and it became known as the Nauset Light. The discontinued Sister, like the two others, was sold into private hands and incorporated into a residence.

After acquiring the land now known as Cape Cod National Seashore, the National Park Service obtained the original Three Sisters' light towers in 1975 and put them in their original configuration along Cable Road about 1,800 feet from the present Nauset Light Station. Restoration was finished in 1989, and the site is now open to the public.

Three Sisters of Nauset Light Station is owned and maintained by the National Park Service as part of Cape Cod National Seashore. The grounds are open daily and National Park Service rangers offer tours and open houses during the summer months. The light towers are accessible via a short walk from the nearby Nauset Light Beach parking area. For further information about accessibility and daily parking fees during the summer, call the Salt Point Visitor Center at 508-255-3421.

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