Lighthouse Committee kicks off “Keep on Shining” campaign

Lighthouse Committee kicks off “Keep on Shining” campaign

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The "Keep on Shining" campaign kicked off Friday on the grounds of the Gay Head lighthouse in Aquinnah. — Photo courtesy of Stefanie Hecht

On Friday, the Martha’s Vineyard Museum and the Gay Head Lighthouse Advisory Committee kicked off the “Keep on Shining” campaign to relocate and restore the Gay Head Lighthouse.

Under clear blue skies, supporters gathered around the iconic red brick light tower to celebrate the solstice and support the effort to save the lighthouse from tumbling into the sea.

The opening of the campaign followed the news announcement last Wednesday that the National Trust for Historic Preservation named the Gay Head Lighthouse to its 2013 list of “America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.”

“This annual list spotlights important examples of the nation’s architectural, cultural and natural heritage that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage,” NTHP said in a press release. “More than 240 sites have been on the list over its 26-year history, and in that time, only a handful of listed sites have been lost.”

The red brick beacon that has guided mariners since 1856 sits 50 feet from the edge of a cliff that is receding about two feet every year. The lighthouse must be moved within the next couple of years if it is to be saved, according to experts.

The cost to shore up and move the lighthouse is expected to reach several million dollars.

For more information on the campaign, go to gayheadlight.org.