At the end of February 2014, when the U. S. Coast Guard announced that it was deaccessioning Nobska Light Station because it needed significant repairs, Dave Granlund's cartoon appeared in the Boston Globe. The news spurred people to action.
Very quickly, on February 24, 2014, the Executive Director and Treasurer of the Falmouth Historical Society met with Captain John Kondratowicz of the Coast Guard unit stationed in Woods Hole to get the details and express interest. Also, 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. The meeting allowed all the interested parties to find one another and begin to work out a way to gain local control of the property.
The terms of deaccessioning required the Coast Guard to continue to maintain only the light bulb in the Fresnel lens, and the foghorn. Municipalities and non-profits could acquire the lighthouse for free if they would restore it and open it to the public; otherwise it would go to the highest private bidder. Of the 100 or so lighthouses in the U.S. that had already been deaccessioned, half had gone into private ownership—thus the threat that Nobska could become private property was real.
Among the people attending that first crowded meeting were members of four nonprofits in Falmouth dedicated to historic preservation:
Feelings ran high at the meeting. People wanted to save Nobska for the public. Soon representatives of the four nonprofits met and agreed to pursue the license to restore the lighthouse. Subsequently, the Falmouth Selectmen voted to approve their plan, which called for the Town to be the licensee and for a new organization, the Friends of Nobska Light, to sublet the property from the town. The Friends would have the responsibility for raising the money to restore buildings, develop the grounds, maintain the whole property, and create a vibrant museum open to the public from April to October of every year.
The application was approved by the Falmouth Selectmen at the end of November 2014, and 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. Immediately, the Town transferred responsibility to the Friends of Nobska Light through a Memorandum of Agreement.
In 2017, with money from Falmouth's Community Preservation Fund, private foundations, neighbors, board members, and many many private individuals, the lighthouse tower was completely restored. Two subsequent grants from Falmouth's Community Preservation Fund, together with private donations, will enable the rehabilitation of the Keeper's House. Future fundraising will allow the Friends to develop displays to complete the conversion of the first floor of the house to a publicly accessible museum.
Read here the Boston Globe's article at the time of the Coast Guard's announcement on February 25, 2014, "New caretaker sought for iconic Cape lighthouse."
Click here to read the narrative application that was accepted by the Coast Guard in 2015.
Friends of Nobska Light is a non-profit, 501 (c)(3) incorporated in 2015.
2016 Raised money for the Lighthouse Tower renovation and developed an additional master plan for the property.
2017 Started restoration of the Lighthouse Tower and continued raising money for the Keeper's House rehabilitation.
2018 Finished the Lighthouse Tower restoration and began the Keeper's House rehabilitation.
2019 Begin rehabilitation of the Keeper's House. Continue planning the museum displays and programs.
2020 Finish the Keeper's House and raise money for the museum interior and displays.