Gay Head Lighthouse

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Martha's Vinyard, Gay Head, MA, USA

Gay Head Lighthouse Reviews

grandmar grandmar
237 reviews
1856 Gay Head Light Jun 05, 1946
The lighthouse in Dad's my picture looks like a dark tower built next to another building. Some of the old postcards and CG photographs show other buildings although current photographs do not. In any case, I'm pretty sure that although we climbed around on the Gay Head cliffs (no longer allowed because of erosion concerns) we never visited the lighthouse.

Gay Head has a gold rating for lighthouse visits. (The highest rating is platinum.)

In 1844, a brick concentrical tower replaced the original lighthouse at Gay Head, and eight years later this structure was designated the ninth most important lighthouse on the eastern seaboard of America. In 1854, after the formation of the new Lighthouse Board, a first order Fresnel lens was obtained from Paris. A new 51-foot brick lighthouse (the current one) was built to hold the enormous lens, which contained 1,008 prisms.

General David Hunter wrote in Harper's: "Of all the heavenly phenomena that I have had the good fortune to witness -- borealis lights, mock suns or meteoric showers -- I have never seen anything that, in mystic splendor, equalled the trick of the magic lantern of Gay Head."

In spite of the lighthouse, Gay Head was witness to one of the worse maritime accidents in New England history when in 1884 the passenger ferry City of Columbus ran aground on the Devil's Bridge ledge, killing more than 100 passengers.

Today, the beautiful lighthouse at Gay Head is still an active guide to navigation but is leased by the Martha's Vineyard Historical Society. In 1999 it was added to the list of the National Register of Historic Places
Gay Head Lighthouse from a distanc…
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AdamR3723 says:
I have never been to Florida.
Posted on: Feb 22, 2017
grandmar says:
You didn't see the Seminoles in Florida? :)
Posted on: Feb 22, 2017
AdamR3723 says:
In late 1963, I visited Martha Vineyard, where a good friend of may parents, Elaine Sofer, had a summer house (near Edgartown). Elaine took us around the island by car, and we visited the Gay Head Indians. These were the only Native American Indians that I have seen in all of 4 visits to the USA! And, they were not living in the 'Wild West' !
Posted on: Feb 22, 2017
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Gay Head
photo by: obrnroady