The Coast Guard is in the process of ceding management of the iconic structure. The divestment of the structure comes with a lot of paperwork and legal steps, according to Mark Schmidt, Executive Director of the Falmouth Historical Society.
“Because it’s the government, there are a lot of hoops to jump through, a lot of steps to do. They want a plan in terms of how you would maintain it, what you would do with it. We’re still talking internally about how we would go about doing that. . . .We’re certainly interested in being involved in the process,” he said.
A call went out to local non-profits earlier this spring to find a group to take over the structure.
Schmidt said he could envision the lighthouse having a second life as a place to view exhibits.
“We know it’s part of our mission to preserve Falmouth’s past. It’s obviously the iconic symbol of the Town of Falmouth. The coast guard has made it clear that they would like to divest themselves of ownership, that their job is search and rescue and their first priority is to find a qualified non-profit with a plan that can license and ultimately take over management of the lighthouse,” he said.
Schmidt says nothing is imminent, but they have had some discussions with the Coast Guard to express their interest in managing the lighthouse.
Schmidt said the historical society as well as some other 501c3 nonprofits in the town of Falmouth have talked with Coast Guard officials about what is involved in the process and what would need to be done in the days to come in order to fulfull the coast guard’s wishes.
The other non-profits are Highfield Hall and Gardens and the Woods Hole Historical Museum, he said. They would also like to get the Town of Falmouth involved, Schmidt said.
“Right now we’re sort of in the process of doing our due diligence, what does every group bring to the table and how can we all assist each other,” Schmidt said.
He said fundraising is definitely on the table. “It’s not just a matter of preserving it for today but for tomorrow as well, that’s a necessary component,” he said.
There are capital needs on the property.
The house next to the lighthouse where the commandant of the coast guard lived needs a new roof and new windows, Schmidt said.
“It’s going to be some rather serious capital has to be raised,” he said, adding he is not sure how much needs to be done right away.
As for what form Nobska might take under non-profit control, Schmidt said exhibit space is one possibility.
The historical society would like a venue where visitors could come and learn about the history of Nobska and some of the maritime past of Falmouth. “It would be an excellent spot for that,” he said.
“We’re on a fact-finding mission and information-gathering session,” he said. “We’re trying to process everything the Coast Guard might need and want before taking the next step.”