The American Lighthouse Foundation held its annual lighthouse gala at the Four Points by Sheraton in Eastham, MA, on April 28, 2012.
The organization’s signature event featured some wonderful lighthouse camaraderie, fundraising, a great meal and some Cape Cod lighthouses open for climbing (Nauset, The Three Sisters and Highland), but the highlight of the evening event was the presentation of awards to well-deserving individuals and groups for their amazing dedication to lighthouse preservation and education.
One of the awards presented was the ALF “Keeper of the Light Award,” with the Nauset Light Preservation Society being honored for their dedicated efforts to save Nauset Lighthouse from being lost to erosion, and subsequently maintaining the beacon in grand fashion thereafter.
The following text was read to the Lighthouse Gala attendees in honor of the Nauset Light Preservation Society’s above and beyond commitment to lighthouse preservation excellence…
“Throughout their history, erosion has been an adversary for Cape Cod’s lighthouses. The Nauset light station in Eastham has been no exception. In just three years, from 1991 to 1994, 30 feet of the bluff disappeared just east of the lighthouse.
When the Coast Guard proposed the decommissioning of Nauset Light in 1993, hundreds of letters poured into the Boston Coast Guard headquarters requesting that the lighthouse be moved inland and saved. As a result, the Nauset Light Preservation Society was formed in 1993, spearheaded by several local residents — Bill Burt, Hawkins Conrad, Pam Nobili, and Harold Jennings, among many others.
In January 1994 the Coast Guard announced that the light would remain active, and that they would support the efforts of the NLPS.
The Nauset Light Preservation Society raised over $80,000 from private donations and secured federal grants totaling over $200,000 to fund the relocation and restoration of the lighthouse. After much debate and consideration, a new site was chosen for the tower in April 1996. By that time it stood only 43 feet from the edge of the bluff. A contract with International Chimney Corporation was signed in September 1996.
The historic move of Nauset Light was completed on Saturday, November 16, 1996. As crowds of the curious strained to get a view of the historic event from designated viewing areas, the truck hauled the lighthouse across the road to its new home, 336 feet from the old site.
The lighthouse was relighted at a gala event attended by about 2,000 supporters. At its new location, the Nauset Light Preservation Society continues to keep the lighthouse lit as a private aid to navigation.
Today, the Nauset Light Preservation Society has a partnership agreement with the National Park Service to operate, maintain, and interpret the Nauset Lighthouse site. The organization is responsible for paying all renovation, utility, and maintenance costs, and it also pays for all exhibits and educational materials developed as part of the effort to interpret the lighthouse to the public.
The Nauset Light Preservation Society provides public tours of Nauset Lighthouse and the oil house on Sundays from May through late October and also on Wednesdays during July and August. Volunteers provide the historic background of the light station and conduct tours to the top of the tower.
In recognition of the organization’s indispensable role in the rescuing of Nauset Light from the brink of extinction and its continuing efforts as the steward of this historic landmark, we present the American Lighthouse Foundation’s Keeper of the Light Award to the Nauset Light Preservation Society.”