May 7th, 2016

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

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