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Historic Chatham Lighthouses

What’s a trip to the Cape without the beach? Chatham Wayside is just a short walk from the largest and most scenic, Lighthouse Beach, as well as other nearby beaches.


Chatham Light

Chatham Light, located on the grounds of Coast Guard Station Chatham, is one of the most popular Cape Cod lighthouses thanks to its beautiful setting overlooking Lighthouse Beach. This scenic beach offers everything from sunbathing and swimming to yoga classes and nature walks.

The lighthouse was established in 1808, and President Thomas Jefferson appointed its first keeper, Samuel Nye. It was originally built with twin towers, but the Northern tower was moved to Eastham in 1923 to become Nauset Light. Chatham Light became automated in 1982 is still actively in use by the Coast Guard.

Stage Harbor Light

Stage Harbor Lighthouse was built in 1880, making it the youngest lighthouse on Cape Cod. It was built as a complement to Chatham Light. Stage Harbor got its name because the waterway functioned as a staging area for vessels waiting to round Monomoy Point, and Stage Harbor Light helped mark the waterway during times of low visibility.

Despite its short history as a manned lighthouse, the Stage Harbor Light had several exceptional keepers, many receiving commendations for heroism. One such man was the lighthouse’s final keeper, Stanley Gunderson, who was credited with several rescues (and who, it was later discovered, also supplemented his income by bootlegging).

The lighthouse was deactivated in 1933 when a new automated tower was installed nearby, and Stage Harbor Light and the surrounding land was sold to an army officer. A few years later it was sold again, to Henry Sears Hoyt, an ancestor of Chatham’s founder William Nickerson, and it has remained in the Hoyt family ever since.


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