Cape Cod National Seashore: Three Sisters Lights

Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T!

New England Road Trip➤

Patty and I hit the road again in April 2023. We planned to visit a friend in Rhode Island and attend a meetup of the National Park Travelers Club in Massachusetts. Along the way we hit several other National Park Units and historic sites. We spent one morning exploring Cape Cod, including the Three Sisters Lighthouses.

Cape Cod National Seashore➤

The Laurentide Ice Sheet, which covered much of North America during the last Ice Age, formed Cape Cod as it advanced and retreated. Cape Cod is the largest glacial peninsula in the world.

An act of Congress designated Cape Cod National Seashore and President John F. Kennedy signed it into law on August 7, 1961. President Kennedy, a Massachusetts native, had a strong connection to Cape Cod. He played a pivotal role in the establishment of the national seashore. He recognized the importance of preserving the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Cape Cod for future generations, and the establishment of the national seashore was a significant step in achieving that goal.

Cape Cod National Seashore protects forty miles of pristine sandy beach, salt marshes, ponds, and upland forests. These ecosystems support diverse species of plants and animals. Lighthouses, historic landscapes, and wild cranberry bogs provide insights into Cape Cod’s rich history and enduring traditions. Meanwhile, beaches, waterways, and extensive walking and biking paths offer modern-day visitors a wide range of recreational experiences.

Three Sisters Lights➤

After walking the Nauset Trail, we took a short drive to the nearby lighthouses. The Three Sisters of Nauset first lit the mid point of Cape Cod in 1837. The original brick towers fell into the sea in 1890. They were replaced with wooden towers in 1892, further back from the cliff.

By 1911, the coast had eroded again, leaving the lights too close to the edge. They were moved back, with only one of the three towers remaining lit. In 1918, the two decommissioned towers moved further down the road and became summer cottages. In 1923, the Nauset light replaced the remaining sister.

The park service arranged the sisters in a field near the Nauset Light in their original configuration. They restored the structures and opened them for tours in 1989.

New England Posts➤

Location: Cable Rd, Eastham, MA
Designation: National Seashore
Date designated/established: August 7, 1961
Date of my visit: April 14, 2023

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