Beacons of History

Beacons of History

They stand tall and straight on the horizon, an enduring symbol of the Island’s long and rich maritime history. Viewed from a distance, the Edgartown and East Chop lighthouses convey a sense of strength and of purpose.

Until recently, however, closer looks would have inspired less appreciation.

In the nineteen eighties, the Coast Guard stopped funding the maintenance of the lighthouses. Soon time and weather took their toll on the old cast-iron structures.

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Henry Beetle Hough Was Lighthouse Champion
Don Shanor

Whether or not the con troversy over tearing down Henry Beetle Hough’s historic house is resolved, there is still a need for the Island to honor the memory of this conservation activist in a way commensurate with his role in preserving our lands, beaches and monuments. Adding his name to the official designation of the Edgartown Lighthouse, perhaps calling it the Henry Beetle Hough Memorial, would accomplish this. Without Henry Hough, there would be no Edgartown light, and generations would be unaware of the beauty and history we now all enjoy.

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Edgartown Lighthouse Will Be Auctioned; Town Looks to Secure Beacon
Sara Brown

The Edgartown Lighthouse, the prominent beacon overlooking the outer Edgartown harbor that has long been a symbol of the town, is going to be put up to bid by the federal government, with the town and the Martha’s Vineyard Museum expressing interest in taking stewardship of the landmark.

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Beacon of History

The 1976 book To the Harbor Light by longtime Gazette editor Henry Beetle Hough drew its title from his daily early morning walks to the Edgartown Lighthouse with his collie Graham. It was a place Mr. Hough knew well, and in fact had campaigned more than once to save for public walking and enjoyment of the stunning views across the outer Edgartown harbor to Cape Pogue. Mr. Hough wrote that the lighthouse was “the kind of solitary outpost where the greatest product, peace of mind, is free to all.”

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Study Will Illuminate Lighthouse’s Future
Remy Tumin

As erosion inches the Gay Head Lighthouse closer to the edge, the Martha’s Vineyard Museum is moving ahead with a study to assess the urgency of relocating the 156-year-old structure.

The study will take place over the course of three years and provide a “more realistic” prediction of what the long-term needs are for the area, museum director David Nathans said yesterday.

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