Lighthouse Day Potluck

pot luck invite

Popular Mechanics: How to Move a Lighthouse

“One bright, cool day in the spring of 2010, Richard Skidmore walked up a small dirt path that runs along the bluffs in front of the Gay Head Lighthouse on Martha’s Vineyard. The lighthouse had stood on the promontory since 1856. Skidmore, the lighthouse keeper, with his wife, Joanie, could walk this path blindfolded, its soft rise from the street toward the cliffs, a north-northwest approach. Each step added to the view of Vineyard Sound, the Elizabeth Islands beyond, and Buzzards Bay in the distance. Richard didn’t live at the lighthouse, the way keepers did in the old days, but he tended it and maintained it and visited every few days. In fact, he had been up at the light just two days before, and everything was as it should be. But now, something was different. There was a split-rail wood fence that ran along the bluffs, a fence Richard had known for the twenty years he had been the keeper of Gay Head Light—the fence was part of his life. As he rose to the top of the path, he stopped abruptly and stared at the fence, or the place where the fence should be. Forty feet of it was gone. He walked over to the bluffs, looked down. The fence was strung like a necklace on the face of the cliffs, dangling beneath the proud lighthouse toward the waves crashing silently into the rocks far below…” READ MORE

Gay Head Lighthouse New Location, From the Air

Thank you, David Welch, for this stunning and very current (shot on November 8, 2015) drone footage of the Gay Head Lighthouse. Click the full-screen icon (see below) and watch in HD for the full, gorgeous effect. Toward the end, you’ll see the early stages of the new landscaping we will all enjoy next spring when the lighthouse reopens to the public.vimeo-fullscreen

Gay Head 10K Committee Chair Beverly Wright on the Radio

From Vineyard Current, Sept. 27th on WMVY Radio, listen to Beverly Wright discuss the lighthouse rescue and the Gay Head 10K. Beverly’s segment begins at 9:36:

Restoration Follows Relocation For Gay Head Light Project - MV Gazette

Gay Head Light closes Monday for the season - Timothy Johnson

Gay Head Light closes Monday for the season – Timothy Johnson

The Gay Head Light will close to the public on Monday until next spring, marking the end of its first season in a new location and the beginning of a multi-year restoration project, focusing on the historic brick-and-masonry tower and its immediate surroundings.

Between May 27 and May 30 this year, the lighthouse was moved 129 feet away from the eroding cliffs, buying at least 150 years before erosion may require another move inland. A stone wall similar to one that existed just east of the lighthouse in the 1880s now marks the boundary between town and Coast Guard properties, and a circular stone- and-brick bench marking the building’s original footprint is under construction.

The area around the lighthouse has been covered in sod, with a split-rail fence along the cliff edge, and other landscaping features taking shape. The 400-ton tower survived the move without a single crack, but decades of wind and rain have eroded some of its cast-iron features, including a railing surrounding the upper gallery, and an exterior ladder leading to the light room. During a severe storm in the 1800s, a portion of the brick wall below the light room shifted and cracked, and was replaced with a new brick wall that has also deteriorated over the years.

Continue reading….

Gay Head 10K 2015 - Windy and Worth It

Hurricane Joaquin stayed away, but runners in today’s Gay Head 10K faced stiff winds as they raced the scenic up-island course. Overall winners were Rene Da Silva of Vineyard Haven and Alex Testa of Somerville. You can see full results, overall and by age group, by clicking here.

Check back here for photos.

Thanks to all who participated, including our fabulous volunteers, police, EMS and town employees, for making this year’s race a huge success!


Light Shines On – MV Gazette

Letter to the Editor:

With the relighting of the Gay Head Light on Tuesday, August 11, the monumental task of saving the Gay Head Light has come to an amazingly successful conclusion. Based on the relocation of the structure to its new location, 180 feet back from the cliff face, U.S. Geologists predict that another move won’t be needed for a minimum of 150 years. The remarkable work done by everyone in our Vineyard community, as well as contributions those from across the country and even overseas, has made it possible to save this iconic landmark for future generations to visit, learn its history and utilize its maritime beacon from the open waters of Vineyard Sound.

There are many people to thank for this incredible project, starting with the Aquinnah community. On a cold February night in 2013, residents came to a special town meeting and voted to acquire the Gay Head Lighthouse, and to initiate a process to relocate the lighthouse within the town of Aquinnah. With a town annual budget of only $4 million, it seemed quite formidable to know that $3 million would have to be raised separately to relocate the lighthouse safely away from the eroding cliff face, after first acquiring it from the US Coast Guard. But that was the challenge to be faced and it was met with unanimous approval.

Continue reading…

Coast Guard Official Tours Relocated Lighthouse


U.S. Coast Guard Captain John Kondratowicz, Southeast Sector Commander, and Save the Gay Head Lighthouse relocation head Len Butler survey building plans

Capt. John Kondratowicz, Commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Southeast Sector, toured the relocated Gay Head Lighthouse with Richard Skidmore, lighthouse keeper, and Len Butler, relocation committee head.


Impressed with the light’s history, Capt. Kondratowicz commended the committee and the Town of Aquinnah for their successful move of the structure. He also expressed great interest in the artifacts discovered during excavation and incorporated into the new location.
and tour of the relocated Light. “This is a  terrific start to a long-lasting partnership between the Town and the USCG,” he said.


Gay Head Lighthouse Relighting Day Slideshow

  • Gay Head Light awaits its ribbon-cutting and re-lighting. The iconic 400-ton structure was moved back from an eroding cliff in May. CREDIT BRIAN MORRIS/WCAI