Stage Harbor Light
Stage Harbor Light is in Chatham on Cape Cod and wasfirst constructed as a 48-foot cast-iron tower and wood-frame keeper's house.
The Harbor itself, was named after the racks that were once used for drying fish at this busy fishing port, and a lighthouse was needed to safely guide ships into the harbor.
The lighthouse was fitted with a fifth-order Fresnel lens that produced a fixed white light visible for 12 miles out to sea.
In 1918 Keeper Mills Gunderson committed suicide, hanging himself in a shed on the property. His son Stanley, took over as keeper and stayed on until it was decommissioned in 1933.
According to Admont G. Clark's Lighthouses of Cape Cod, the floor under the covered walkway between the house and tower became a hiding place for liquor for a time during prohibition. An inspector on a surprise visit noticed the loose floorboards, but much to the keeper's relief he merely told him to nail them down more securely.
In 1933 an automated light on a skeleton tower replaced Stage Harbor Lighthouse and later, the government removed the lantern and capped the tower, and the property fell into private hands.
There has never been electricity at the station, and no plumbing except a single pump.
The skeleton tower continues as an active aid to navigation, exhibiting a white flash.
The lighthouse can be viewed across the water from the town landing at the end of Sears Road, or can be reached after a one-mile hike on Harding's Beach. Keep in mind that the house and tower are on private property.
It sometimes opens up on special occasions for touring, but the best way to see it is from one of the seal cruises that leave the harbor.
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