The Friends of Nobska Light passed a significant milestone on Tuesday last week when the group and many others celebrated the start of the first phase of the renovation of the keeper’s house. The first phase is not particularly exciting for outsiders; the work involves making the building weather-tight. It will not be until the completion of phase 2 that the public will be able to go into and view the building. But to insiders, those who have been planning and fundraising, the coming work is important because it will arrest the deterioration of the old building.
The house is actually two buildings that were joined years ago. One was for the keeper and the other, just feet apart, was for the assistant keeper.
In those days, upkeep of the lighthouse was serious work. The glass lens had to be kept clean and, perhaps more important, the sperm whale oil lamp had to be kept fed and lit through the night. And in fog and foul weather, there was the klaxon to sound. A federal lighthouse board had high standards and inspected lighthouses on a regular basis.
The keepers’ houses have been changed over the years. In one is a spacious kitchen. The hardwood floors throughout are today shiny and appear to be in good condition. But that belies the fact that the houses have deteriorated badly over the years and, in the end, the renovation will have cost a good deal.
It will be worth it, though. The Friends plan to turn the houses into a maritime museum. The building couldn’t be better suited for it. Changes will be made to make it accessible to those with disabilities. Minor changes will be made to entries and halls to accommodate the flow of visitors. But every room has stunning views of the water. It will be a very pleasant place to linger and study exhibits.
Parking will perhaps be a challenge, but no doubt the Friends have a plan for that.
Before long, Falmouth will have another gem to add to its roster of visitor centers.