WELLFLEET, Mass—Cape Cod National Seashore Superintendent Brian Carlstrom announces that one of the national seashore’s most iconic historic structures, Highland Light in Truro, will undergo extensive rehabilitation beginning in late fall 2018. After the lighthouse closes for the season on October 21, 2018, it will remain closed through 2019 for structural and safety repairs. This will be the first major rehabilitation project at the lighthouse since the United States Coast Guard conveyed it to the National Park Service in 1998.
The rehabilitation follows several years of analysis by preservation specialists and engineers who determined that accelerated deterioration of the lighthouse—evidenced by exterior cracks, spalling bricks, and corrosion—is due to excessive moisture caused by changes to the tower’s ventilation system. Ventilation was a critical design element of the 1857 lighthouse. Three rings of masonry walls and air space in the lower tower area facilitated air being drawn up toward the vent at the top of the lighthouse. When the lighthouse was relocated back from the eroding cliff in 1996, these air spaces were filled with a cement-like material to provide stability during the move. This action, combined with layers of non-breathable coatings applied to the exterior, significantly reduced venting, promoting excessive moisture, and causing deterioration to the masonry tower and corrosion to its metal components.
During the rehabilitation project, venting will be reestablished; masonry will be repaired; exterior coatings will be removed and a new breathable coating applied; windows will be replaced; corroded elements will be repaired or replaced; and safety improvements will be made. While the lighthouse will be closed to the public during the 2019 season, the exhibit area and the Keeper’s Shop operated by Eastern National will remain open.
The project is funded by National Park Service funds aimed at reducing the agency’s deferred maintenance backlog.
The last day to climb Highland Light before the extended closure is October 21, 2018. Visit www.highlandlighthouse.org for tour hours, fees, and minimum height requirement.