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Gay Head Lighthouse Being Moved Inland for Fear of Erosion Causing Fall

Image: Gay Head Lighthouse Being Moved Inland for Fear of Erosion Causing Fall
(Howard Nevitt, Jr./Dreamstime.com, file)

By    |   Thursday, 28 May 2015 03:21 PM

The Gay Head Lighthouse, an icon on Martha's Vineyard, is being moved inland amid fears that it could fall down the eroding cliffside.

The 160-year-old lighthouse is one of the most endangered historic landmarks in the United States, The Associated Press reported.

The move was scheduled to begin June 10, but started Thursday instead because of favorable weather and preparation labor that went faster than expected, according to the AP. It's expected to reach its new home, some 135 feet southeast, on Saturday.

So far, the local group Save the Gay Head Lighthouse has raised $3 million for the move, but still requires $400,000 to complete the project, according to The Boston Globe.

The 400-ton brick-and-mortar structure was lifted six feet off the ground and onto a wood-and-steel frame for the move.

The call for the beacon to be moved became more urgent recently because of landslides, erosion of the Gay Head cliffs, and strong ocean waves, according to BBC News. If the lighthouse had not been moved within the next two years, it would be too far to the edge of the cliff to have been moved safely.

A lighthouse was first built on the cliff in 1799 under the orders of President John Adams, according to the AP. This tower replaced the first in 1856.

The beacon used to protect mariners from the dangerous shoals below its cliff. It is the only one in the country with a history of Native American lighthouse keepers, according to The Boston Globe. The Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe looked after it for a number of years.

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The Gay Head Lighthouse, an icon on Martha's Vineyard, is being moved inland amid fears that it could fall down the eroding cliffside.
gay head, lighthouse, being, moved
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2015-21-28
Thursday, 28 May 2015 03:21 PM
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