Why is the Gay Head Lighthouse being moved ?

The Lighthouse now stands approximately 50 feet from the edge of the Cliffs and within two years, at current erosion rates, it will be too close to move safely.

Who owns the Gay Head Lighthouse?

At present, the U.S. Coast Guard owns the lighthouse but they plan to list it as surplus property on August 1, 2013, at which point the town of Aquinnah will be applying for ownership. It is hoped that it will be awarded to the Town of Aquinnah, just as the Edgartown Light was recently awarded to that town. The Coast Guard can no longer afford its many lighthouses.

Will The Gay Head Lighthouse still be a functioning navigational device?

Yes! We hope to keep the white, red sweep going for many years to come.

When was it built?

1854, replacing the original wooden structure built in 1799.

Where will it be moved?

Three possible sites have been identified and initial geological analysis will take place this summer. The most suitable site will be selected, based upon soils, visibility, erosion projections, and comparative site acquisition and moving costs.

How much will it cost to move the Light?

Costs are dependent upon the site chosen but will approximate $3,000,000. Besides the actual move they will also include any necessary restoration work to the structure, as well as landscaping and site restoration.

Can the lighthouse be moved?

A masonry lighthouse on Nantucket, similar to ours, has recently been moved successfully.

When will it be moved and how long will it take?

If all goes according to initial plans, the Lighthouse will be moved in the fall of 2014. Depending on the site chosen it should take between 5-10 days for the move itself. Restoration and landscaping will take longer.

Why is the Town of Aquinnah involved in saving the Lighthouse?

The Gay Head Light is undoubtedly the most recognized structure in Aquinnah.  Though it has long served as a beacon to mariners, its light is a deep and satisfying comfort to residents and visitors alike, who treasure it for what it is and what it represents.  It’s up to all of us to help to preserve it.