From the Cape Cod National Seashore:
In the 220 years since the establishment of Highland (Cape Cod) Light as the first lighthouse on Cape Cod, lighthouse technology at stations on Cape Cod and across the country has evolved. Stations had fixed or flashing lights to differentiate them. Double light and triple light configurations, such as Chatham and Nauset further distinguished light stations so mariners would know where they were, based on the number of lights they saw. Eventually, the multiple towers were replaced by single towers with unique flash intervals and colors.
This evolution continues with the recent installation by the U.S. Coast Guard of a new beacon at Highland Light. While the National Park Service owns the lighthouse and adjoining keeper’s house, the U.S. Coast Guard maintains the lighthouse optics system as an aid to navigation. The new beacon is a light-emitting diode (LED) beacon that flashes every five seconds, but does not rotate. The new LED lantern has a range similar to the former beacon, it uses much less power, and it has a longer maintenance interval. The beacon replaces several earlier generations of beacons that included Fresnel lenses and aerobeacons. Each modification has improved the reliability of the optics to assist the U.S. Coast guard in fulfilling its critical mission of protecting those who rely on lighthouses for navigation and safety.
Highland Light opens for the season on April 17. Lighthouse tours and the Keeper’s Shop are operated by the park’s education partner, Eastern National, which also operates gift and bookstores in Salt Pond and Province Lands visitor centers. For more information about Highland Light, visit http://www.highlandlighthouse.org/.