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Monomoy Island History

Monomoy geography

Monomoy Island is an uninhabited 8 mile long, 7600 acre island which lies directly south east of Chatham, Massacuhsetts which is part of Cape Cod. Monomoy forms a natural barrier between Nantucket Sound and the Atlantic Ocean, and is know for it's rapidly changing coastline which reforms each year as the winter storms erode it's sandy shores. Throughout history, there have been periods where Monomoy was a peninsula, connedted to the main land, and then for large stretches it has been an island, as it is today.

Monomoy national wildlife refuge

Since 1944 Monomoy has been designated as a national wildlife refuge by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Monomoy Spans 7600 Acres and is the home to a variety of migratory birds including Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, Roseate Tern and Red Knot. Monomoy is also home to a huge colony of Grey and Harbor seals whose numbers have grown expodentially over the past decade, into the tens of thousands. For more details on the current state of the refuge, visitation options, and the types of plants and animal species you can find at the refuge, please visit the official Fish and Wildlife Service Website :

Monomoy point Light

Monomoy Point Light iwas established in 1823. The first light was a wood tower and brick lantern room on top of the keeper's house. The current tower, one of the first made of cast iron, was built in 1849.

After the opening of the Cape Cod Canal in 1914, most vessels bound from south of the Cape to the Boston area took the shorter and safer route through the canal, so there was much less traffic past the light and the light was deactivated in 1923.

It was added to the  National Registar of historic places as Monomoy Point Lighthouse on November 1, 1979.

The keeper's house is preserved and serves today as a guest house. The Lighthouse preservation society, the Massachusets Audubon Society, and The Friends of Monomoy support preservation of the lighthouse and keeper's house.

The Following photos come from the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) in the national Archives: