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West Chop Light, Martha's Vineyard by Ella Derbyshire

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About This Gigapan

Taken by
Ella Derbyshire Ella Derbyshire
Explore score
Print Pricing
$8.00 to $780.00
0.17 Gigapixels
Date added
May 30, 2011
Date taken
May 15, 2011

Canon EOS 5D Mark II

architectural, landscape

This is the West Chop Light which, with the East Chop Light, guards the entrance to Vineyard Haven on Martha’s Vineyard. This light sits on a bluff in Tilsbury, a few miles outside of Vineyard Haven.

There were 2 earlier towers at West Chop. The first, a 25-foot stone and rubble tower with a stone keeper’s quarters, was built in 1817. A new brick tower built in 1838 had to be moved further away from eroding cliffs in 1847. New homes in the neighborhood in the late 1880's mandated a taller tower, and so in 1891 this 45-foot high cylindrical brick tower was built where it stands today. Originally brick red, it was painted white in 1896. The fourth order Fresnel lens that was installed in second tower in 1857 is still in use in this tower in 2011.

The lighthouse was fully automated in 1976. It shines a white light occulting every 4 seconds. The red sector that you see in the lantern signals danger to ships that approach 2 dangerous shoals. Essentially if you are sailing to Vineyard Haven, and you see the red light flashing from West Chop, you are on your way to running aground.

This lighthouse has a fog horn in the sound signal building which was built in 1882. When needed, the horn blasts once every 30 seconds. The fog horn required a second keeper at West Chop, and a new keeper’s cottage was also built in 1882. In 1888 a wood frame building replaced the old stone keeper’s quarters.

The West Chop Light is owned by the US Coast Guard and managed by the Vineyard Environmental Research Institute. Unlike the other lighthouses on Martha’s Vineyard, neither the lighthouse nor the grounds are open to the public. You can see the lighthouse from the street, as we did, and you can see it from the deck of the ferry as you enter Vineyard Haven.

The 19 images of this panorama were photographed with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and stitched with Autopano Giga.

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