Aquinnah History

Aquinnah Sites Reveal 10,000 Years of Wampanoag History

A 2001 Aquinnah bylaw requiring archaeological reviews of proposed building sites has unearthed scores of significant discoveries.

Aquinnah Officially Turns 20, But Gay Head Name Endures

Just over 20 years ago this week, the Island’s smallest town voted to rebrand itself from Gay Head to Aquinnah, the area’s original Native American name.

Having Faith in the Power of History

Established in 1693, the Gay Head Community Baptist Church is the oldest continuously operating Native American Baptist Church in the country.

On the Cliffs in Aquinnah, History Is Alive at the Vanderhoop Homestead

Aquinnah is not the place to go looking for interesting houses without trespassing. Interesting stories, yes, but the houses visible from the road are few and far between. The exception of course is the Vanderhoop homestead.
Aquinnah library

Bustle Lies Beyond These Small Walls

Most of the time the Aquinnah Public Library lies dormant. Activity in the center of Aquinnah takes place at the town hall, not at the little red schoolhouse building across the street.


Heroic Rescuers Up for Posthumous Award

Jan. 18 marked the 127th anniversary of one of the worst marine disasters in southeastern Massachusetts, when the 275-foot steamer City of Columbus foundered on the rocks of Devil’s Bridge and sank a half mile off Gay Head. A total of 103 passengers and crew were lost.

It is Official: It's Aquinnah

One week after the bill was laid on his desk, acting Gov. Paul Cellucci yesterday signed into law the change that has been awaited by the Island’s smallest town since almost a year ago. The governor’s signature made it official.

The town of Gay Head is no more; long live the town of Aquinnah.

Historic Transfer of Indian Lands Signed

The town of Gay Head signed the deed conveying the ancestral Wampanoag Indian Common Lands to the federal government yesterday, ending a protracted legal struggle for the tribe with quiet agreement.
The face of the Gay Head Cliffs, the Herring Creek and the cranberry bogs will be under the control of the Wampanoag Tribal Council of Gay Head Inc. as the representative of the Gay Head Wampanoag Tribe.

Gay Head School Out for Summer and for Good

High on a windy promontory at the end of the Island stands the Gay Head School. It is a one-room school with all the traditional trimmings, from flag to red paint, that one-room schools are supposed to have. Outside there is a playground and a pond, and inside there are actually two rooms, but one is used as a kitchen-storeroom-catch-all sort of place and the other is a classroom.
For the past eleven years, Mrs. James Manning has been the teacher at the school, teaching kindergarten through the fourth grade to a varying number of children.

Island Is Special, Secretary Udall Says at Gay Head

In a friendly but eloquent mixture of encouragement, advice and warning to the whole Island, Secretary of the Interior Steward L. Udall formally dedicated the colorful clay cliffs of Gay Head as a National Landmark on Saturday afternoon.