Also known as the Telegraph Hill Lighthouse;
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East Chop was originally established as a semaphore signal station on what became known as "Telegraph Hill" in Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vinyard. The first light was built privately in 1869 funded by local merchants and mariners. This original tower burned down in 1871 and was replaced by a lantern on the roof of the private keeper's house. Acknowledging the necessity of a lighthouse at East Chop, the U.S. Government purchased the site in 1876 and erected the existing 40 foot tower. Built of cast iron plates and lined with brick, it was originally painted a red - brown and was nicknamed "The Chocolate Tower". Equipped with a fourth order Fresnel lens, the lighthouse was automated in 1933. When the last keeper declined to rent his keeper's house for $100 per month both the house and oil house were removed in 1934. The classical lens was replaced in 1984 with a 300 mm modern optic.
The East Chop Lighthouse continues to be an active aid to navigation displaying a green light characteristic of 3 seconds on and 3 seconds off. The tower was repainted white with a black lantern and trim in 1989 when it was determined that the chocolate brown color caused excess heat to build up in the automated tower. The Martha's Vineyard Historical Society was granted stewardship in 1994 and maintains the structure
The East Chop Lighthouse grounds are open to the public. Sunset tours of the tower are held on Sundays between mid June and mid September.The tours start 1.5 hours before sunset and continue another .5 hour after sunset. The tour fee is $3.00 per person with proceeds going to maintenance of the three Martha's Vineyard lighthouses maintained by the Historical Society ( East Chop, Edgartown Harbor and Gay Head).
Directions: Martha's Vineyard Island is accesible by both air plane and ferry. From the Vineyard Haven ferry dock, turn south on Water Street to a left turn on Beach Road. Continue over the bridge and make the second right turn onto Eastville Avenue. Turn left on Temahigan Avenue and continue to the end. Turn left onto East Chop Drive which will climb to the top of Telegraph Hill. The East Chop Lighthouse is to your left in a small park overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Martha's Vineyard Museum -Please visit the Museum's web site for Sunset Tours and other information and area attractions when visiting the East Chop Lighthouse. The historical society also has stewardship of the Edgartown Harbor and Gay Head Lighthouses.
Please visit the Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce website for more information and attractions when visiting Martha's Vineyard.
For more photographs and history of the East Chop Lighthouse, you can visit the: