First a fact to illustrate the historical importance of the light’s position here at the elbow of Cape Cod: Thomas Jefferson appointed the town’s first lighthouse keeper in 1808. The light made national news again in 1952, when young Coast Guard personnel stationed here set out on a lifeboat during a nor’easter to rescue the surviving crew of an oil tanker that had split in half offshore—a dramatic event used as the basis for the 2016 film The Finest Hours. In spite of the seemingly impossible task, they managed to rescue 32 crewmen. While the light has been automated since 1982, visitors can climb to the top via 44 steps and a short ladder to take in a panorama of the town, the bay and ocean, and Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge.
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