The American Lighthouse Foundation held its annual lighthouse gala at the Four Points by Sheraton in Eastham, MA, on April 28, 2012.
The organization’s signature event featured some wonderful lighthouse camaraderie, fundraising, a great meal and some Cape Cod lighthouses open for climbing (Nauset, The Three Sisters and Highland), but the highlight of the evening event was the presentation of awards to well-deserving individuals and groups for their amazing dedication to lighthouse preservation and education.
One of the awards presented was the ALF “Keeper of the Light Award,” with the Highland Museum & Lighthouse, Inc. being honored as one of the awardees for their dedicated efforts to save a Cape Cod legend – Highland Lighthouse, from being lost to erosion.
The following text was read to the Lighthouse Gala attendees in honor of the Highland Museum & Lighthouse, Inc.’s above and beyond commitment to lighthouse preservation excellence…
“When Highland Light, Cape Cod’s first lighthouse, was built on the Highlands of North Truro in 1797, it was more than 500 feet from the edge of the bluff on which it stands. By 1885 the distance had shrunk to 336 feet. The bluff continued to erode until, by the early 1990s, the lighthouse stood about 112 feet from the edge.
In 1988 the Army Corps of Engineers determined that the most cost-effective way to save the lighthouse would be to move it. Recognizing the desperateness of the situation, a group within the Truro Historical Society began working toward an eventual move.
Volunteers of the Truro Historical Society and the Save the Light Committee, led by Gordon Russell, Bob Firminger, and others, sold t-shirts and souvenirs from a trailer near the lighthouse. Local residents and tourists made donations and bought items, and the society raised over $180,000.
In 1996 the funds raised by the historical society were combined with $1 million in federal funds and $500,000 in state funds to pay for the move of the 404-ton lighthouse to a site 450 feet back from its former location. The town of Truro donated land for the relocation. The operation got under way in June 1996, under the direction of International Chimney Corporation of Buffalo, with the help of Expert House Moving of Maryland. Thousands of sightseers gathered to catch a glimpse of the rare event.
The move took 18 days and was accomplished without a hitch. The relocated lighthouse stands close to the seventh fairway of the Highland Golf Links, which has prompted some to declare it the world’s first life-sized miniature golf course. On Sunday, November 3, 1996, Highland Light was relighted in its new location.
In the summer of 1998 the lighthouse was opened for visitors, with volunteers providing tours. The stated mission of Highland Museum and Lighthouse, Inc., is “to maintain the Cape Cod Highland Lighthouse and the Highland House Museum, to insure their accessibility to the public, and to help the public understand their historical significance.”
For their leading role in the saving of historic Highland Light in the 1990s, and for their ongoing care and interpretation of one of our most beloved lighthouses, we present the American Lighthouse Foundation’s Keeper of the Light Award to Highland Museum and Lighthouse, Inc.”