West Chop Light
West Chop Quick Facts
Year Station Established: 1818
Is the Light operational? Yes
Year Light First Lit: 1891
Year Automated: 1976
Tower Height: 52 ft.
Original Optic: 4th Order, Fresnel
Present Optic: 4th Order, Fresnel
Existing Keepers Quarters? Yes
Year Constructed: 1847
Number of Stories: 1.5
Architectural Style: Victorian
Construction Materials: Wood
West Chop Lighthouse
Martha's Vineyard, MA
(13 photos, 399KB total download)
Last Visited: October, 2003
West Chop Light is a lighthouse station located at the entrance of Vineyard Haven Harbor in Tisbury, Massachusetts on the northern tip of West Chop, a few miles from the village of Vineyard Haven.
The first 25-foot (7.6 m) rubblestone lighthouse and dwelling were built on the bluffs of West Chop in 1817. Following constant erosion, the lighthouse was moved back in 1830, and again in 1846.
The first lightkeeper was pilot James Shaw West who tended the light for thirty years, from 1818 to 1848. His pay was $350 a year. Subsequent lightkeepers were Charles West, 1849–1868; his son Charles P. West, 1869-c1909; George F. Dolby (1909–1919); James Yates (1919-?); and Octave Ponsart (1946–1956) Sam Fuller has also been mentioned as a lightkeeper.
The present 45-foot (14 m) tall brick tower and dwelling were built in 1891. In 1976 West Chop Light became the last Martha's Vineyard lighthouse to be automated, but the original Fresnel lens is still in operation. The former lightkeeper's dwelling now serves as living quarters for the Menemsha Coast Guard Station.
The lighthouse is not open to the public. There are good views from the road.
Nearest Address: 937 Main St, Vineyard Haven, MA
- From the ferry landing in Vineyard Haven, go right onto Main St.
- Take Main St. for 1.8 miles to the lighthouse.
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