Friends of Nobska Light is a non-profit, 501 (c)(3) incorporated in 2015. Here's our story.
At the end of February, 2014, the U. S. Coast Guard announced that it was deaccessioning Nobska Lighthouse Station because it needed at least $550,000 in repairs and was surplus given new technologies for communicating with the maritime community. They would maintain the light itself and the foghorn but the rest would be transferred to other ownership. Municipalities and non-profits could have the lighthouse for free if they would restore it and open it to the public for free, but if not, then it would go to the highest private bidder.
Very quickly, The Woods Hole Community Association called a meeting to tell people about the deaccessioning process and measure community interest in saving the lighthouse property for the public. Among the people attending the crowded meeting were members of four nonprofits in Falmouth dedicated to historic preservation:
Falmouth Historical Society
Woods Hole Historical Museum
Highfield House and Gardens
The Woods Hole Community Association
Soon afterwards, representatives of these nonprofits met and agreed to seek the approval of their boards to prepare an application to submit to the Coast Guard to receive the license to restore the lighthouse as a museum. Their boards agreed and subsequently the Town of Falmouth Selectmen voted to approve their plan, which called for the Town to be the licensee and for a new organization, Friends of Nobska Light, to sublet the property from the town. The Friends would have the responsibility for raising the money to restore to buildings, develop the grounds, maintain the whole property, and create a vibrant museum open to the public for free from April to October of every year.
The application was approved by the Falmouth Selectmen at the end of November, 2014, and the the Friends of Nobska Light incorporated and formed a board in anticipation of the outcome. The Coast Guard notified the Town of its acceptance of the application in March, 2015, and the Town sublet the buildings and property to the Friends of Nobska on 2015.
The founding friends of the Friends of Nobska Light are the representatives of the four nonprofits dedicated to historical preservation in the Town of Falmouth, the five Selectmen in office in 2014 and the other individuals who comprised the planning committee. Starting there, the hope is to have enlisted 1,000 individual friends and 50 more supporting organizations and business partners by 2020 when the Town of Falmouth's license comes under review by the Coast Guard.