Scenic USA - Massachusetts

Cape Poge Lighthouse

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Cape Poge Lighthouse - Edgartown, Massachusetts

Photos by Leo Cloutier
Leo's Martha’s Vineyard Galley

   Positioned on the northeast edge of the small island of Chappaquiddick, Cape Poge Lighthouse was brought into service in 1801. In 1825, light keeper Matthew Mayhew began filing reports that the light station was in jeopardy from an Entry - Cape Poge Lighthouse advancing shoreline. At times, seas were so violent that ocean spray engulfed the keeper’s home. Although his nearest refuge was five miles away, it took another 13 years before the beacon was moved from the cliff edge. By 1844, a new longhouse was constructed and attached to the light keeper’s quarters. Erosion continued to be a problem. The 20th century edition was moved four more times. In 1985, the 55 foot tower was the first lighthouse to be moved by U.S. Army helicopter.
   Today’s Chappaquiddick is completely cut off from neighboring Martha’s Vineyard. A 2007 storm removed sand from Norton Point and now the island is only accessed by boat and the Chappy Ferry. This wilderness area, from Wasque Point to Cape Poge Gut, was formed and continually shaped by offshore currents. These powerful currents that push through the Gut attract both fish and fishermen. Here, rookeries of endangered piping plovers, least terns and oyster catchers vie for nesting sites. At the northernmost tip, Cape Poge Lighthouse still guides vessels through the shoals and shallows of Muskeget Channel.

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