Digest>Archives> June 2001

Restoration at Historic Highland Light

By Jeremy D'Entremont


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One of the Campbell Construction Group crew ...
Photo by: Jeremy D'Entremont

The distinctions held by Highland Light (also known as Cape Cod Light) in North Truro, Massachusetts, are many. It was the first lighthouse station on Cape Cod (1797). It was visited by naturalist Henry David Thoreau, who wrote about it in his book Cape Cod. And in 1996 the present (1857) tower became one of the small handful of lighthouses that have been moved out of danger from threatening erosion. It’s also one of the few New England lighthouses where visitors can visit inside the tower. A restoration completed in early May has left the lighthouse standing strong and looking its best.

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The renovation, which cost approximately $100,000, was paid for by Highland Museum and Lighthouse, Inc., which manages the lighthouse in cooperation with the Cape Cod National Seashore. The funds came from tours of the lighthouse, which has been open to the public since 1998. According to Bob Firminger of Highland Museum and Lighthouse, Inc., 250 or more people tour the lighthouse on a typical summer day.

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For Campbell Construction Group of Beverly, Massachusetts, the work at Highland Light marked their 11th lighthouse restoration. Marty Nally, supervisor of the project, says that the job entailed sandblasting the lead paint from the interior of the lantern room and the tower’s stairs, removing rust from the exterior iron work and replacing some railing sections as well as rusted iron panels. Some cracks in the ironwork were welded with certanium. A new window was installed, and some of the brickwork on the ocean-facing side of the tower had to be replaced. The interior of the lantern room and the stairs were repainted, as was the entire exterior of the tower. In addition, a new ventilation system was installed, which will make visits to the lantern room more comfortable in summer.

Clem Fraize, who has worked on all eleven lighthouse restorations with Nally, says that he found the area to be beautiful, and for the most part the weather cooperated during the restoration. Fraize described the people of Highland Museum and Lighthouse, Inc. as “nice and helpful and eager to get the lighthouse restored.”

The other crew members on the restoration were Ed Brown, Will True, Joe Jones and Gil Tanner.

Bob Firminger says that Highland Museum and Lighthouse, Inc. would next like to restore the trim and re-shingle the roof on the keeper’s house. This work will take place after the necessary funds are raised.

— Highland Lighthouse is open for visitors from May 1st through October. Guided tours in the lighthouse tower are available seven days a week, from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. During the summer months the gift shop is open 10 a.m. until sunset.

When you visit the lighthouse be sure also to visit the nearby Highland House Museum, which is open for visitors from June 1st until September 30th, seven days a week, from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The museum features exhibits on maritime history and shipwrecks as well as Victorian furniture and a comprehensive collection of 19th century clothing.

For more information:

Highland Museum and Lighthouse, Inc.

P.O. Box 486

Truro, Massachusetts 02666

Phone: 508-487-1121

Website: www.capecod.net/ths

This story appeared in the June 2001 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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