Moving Nauset Light 1996

As plans for moving Nauset Light progressed in late 1996, visitors to our site were kept updated about the move. Following is the archive of the progress reports with photos of the move:

October 1996
Erosion Update

Hurricane Edouard roared by and, fortunately, did not make landfall on Cape Cod. However, it did produce very heavy seas, and another foot of bank was lost. Only thirty-six feet remain between the base of the tower and the edge of the cliff. The contractor needs a minimum of at least thirty feet clearance to maneuver equipment around the lighthouse, so the move is happening just in time.

Thanks to Stephen Heaslip for this photo taken in January 1996. (Photo ©1996 Stephen Heaslip)

The Big Move

A contract with International Chimney Co. of Buffalo, NY, for $253,000 was signed on Tuesday, September 24, 1996. The contract will run for 120 days. The project has begun, but the exact dates of the physical move of the lighthouse are unknown at this time. The actual moving process is expected to take about a week, although that may vary, depending upon circumstances. As the work progresses, information and photos will be posted to this site so everyone can keep track of the project.

Groundbreaking Ceremony
Eastham, October 12, 1996

The official groundbreaking ceremony was held today at the lighthouse. It was a bright sunny day and the event was well attended. NLPS president Hawkins Conrad gave thanks to all parties involved with the moving efforts, followed by the Coast Guard ceremony of extinguishing the light to be ready for the move. Representatives from Congressman Studds' office, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management, the National Park Service, the US Coast Guard, and the Nauset Light Preservation Society broke the ground with silver shovels in celebration of the start of the project. The light will be shining again from it's new location before the end of December.

Moving Procedure

The oil house will be moved first. It will be braced, supported on small steel cross beams, loaded onto a flatbed truck, and moved to the new site. At the new location, it will be lowered onto a new foundation.

The interior concrete floor of the lighthouse will be cut and the interior fill hand excavated to a depth of approximately four feet. Simultaneously, the land side of the foundation will be excavated. Holes will be cut in the foundation, cribbing installed, and four cross steel beams pushed through from the land side. Six interior and four exterior jacks will be put in place, and the lighthouse will be raised up by jacking and cribbing. The tower will be transferred to the main beams and a pre-assembled dolly system, which will be installed under the cross steel beams. The lighthouse will be slowly driven to the new location where it will be lowered onto its new foundation.

Progress Report
November 5, 1996

Progress is being made! The area around the oil house has been cleared, and a temporary access road created.

The new site has been cleared, graded, and excavated, and the footings for the lighthouse and the oil house were poured October 31st.

The twelve-inch concrete floor of the lighthouse has been cut out, and the manual digging out of the interior is nearing completion. The exterior was excavated today, and holes are being cut in the foundation for insertion of the cross steel beams.

The best guess is that the tower will move sometime around the 15th of November; however, the actual date is still unknown. The physical move of the lighthouse is expected to take two to five days.

Progress Report
November 9, 1996

The oil house was safely moved today to a temporary location in the corner of the Nauset Light Beach parking lot. It will remain there until after the lighthouse is moved. Then the oil house will be put on the truck again and transported to its foundation at the new site.

As of today, the TENTATIVE time schedule is for the tower to begin its journey on Wednesday, November 13. The contractor hopes to have the lighthouse down to the edge of the road by Thursday evening, and the plan is to move it across the road Friday morning, November 15. From there, it will continue moving on the new site to its final destination. Note that all dates are subject to change, depending upon weather or other unforeseen incidents which may occur.

Progress Report
November 13, 1996

The preparatory excavation, cutting of the foundation, placing of beams, and insertion of cross steel has been completed. Jacking and cribbing began late yesterday afternoon, and continued today. The dolly system will be employed tomorrow, and the slow journey of the tower to its new location will begin on Friday. The special truck that will move the lighthouse has not arrived as scheduled, so the dramatic crossing of the road has been postponed one day to Saturday, November 16. Bookmark this page for the latest updates and photos.

Nauset Light Crosses the Road!
November 16, 1996

Several hundred people were on hand this morning when the lighthouse crossed Nauset Light Beach Road to the new site. By the end of the day, the tower was next to its footing, and had been rotated to face north as it did before it was moved. On Sunday, the lighthouse will be placed above the footing and cribbed to the proper elevation. The dolly system and cross steel will be removed so the brick work for the foundation can begin.

The Tower has Landed.
November 23, 1996

On Monday, November 18, the tower was lowered to its proper elevation over the footing. The oil house was moved from its temporary location in the parking lot and placed over its foundation on the new site. Today, the masons began the brick work for the foundation on which the tower will rest. They are laying brick four courses wide between the footing and the original foundation. After the mortar has cured, the steel will be removed and the remaining holes bricked in. When the area has been back filled, the brick work will be totally concealed. Only the original foundation will be visible.

Progress Report
December 17, 1996

The initial contract is nearing completion. The foundation work is finished, the concrete floor in the lighthouse has been poured, and the brick floor in the oil house has been reinstalled. The area has been back filled and graded, and the final phase, the installation of a driveway to the site, has begun.

Exterior painting of the red and white sections is being done now. In the spring, other necessary repairs will be made, including replacement of the iron railings on the top deck, and the painting of the black top portion of the lighthouse.

Relighting Ceremony
May 11, 1997

Nauset Lighthouse is shining brightly once again. Four switches on a board were wired to the light and flipped simultaneously by Captain Robert Duncan of the US Coast Guard, Pam Nobili, Vice President of the Nauset Light Preservation Society, Maria Burks, Superintendent of Cape Cod National Seashore, and US Representative William Delahunt. The ceremony was held on Saturday evening, May 10, 1997, and attended by more than 2,000 enthusiastic supporters.

Congressman Delahunt presented a certificate of special congressional recognition to Hawkins Conrad, President of the Nauset Light Preservation Society, acknowledging the group's work in saving the historic lighthouse

It was a memorable evening, and we thank all who helped make it possible.

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move photos © 1996 Shirley Sabin