All Things Gay Head Lighthouse

All things Gay Head Lighthouse
The Gay Head Lighthouse was the first lighthouse constructed on Martha’s Vineyard. In 1796, because both islands were deeply involved in the whaling industry, maritime traffic had increased to the point that Peleg Coffin of Nantucket wrote his Congressman asking for a light to be erected at Gay Head. Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton was granted $570 by Congress for that purpose. In 1799 The Commonwealth of Massachusetts deeded two acres and four rods to the federal government for the site of the Gay Head Lighthouse.  President John Adams approved the contract with Martin Lincoln of Hingham to build a wooden lighthouse structure with a keeper’s cottage and outbuildings. This authorization was to help facilitate safe passage for shipping traffic through the hazardous Vineyard Sound between the Gay Head clay cliffs and the Elizabeth Islands.