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In 1920, Charles W. Vanderhoop Sr. was appointed as the tenth Principal Lighthouse Keeper. Vanderhoop had the distinction of being the only Aquinnah Wampanoag Indian to officially tend the Lighthouse. During his service, the Gay Head Light was well maintained and operated. This was due in large part to the fact that he acquired valuable working knowledge of the Fresnel lens apparatus when he served as assistant Keeper at Sankaty Head Light. Charles Vanderhoop was renowned for his story-telling abilities – which entertained visitors touring the Gay Head Lighthouse.
The Englishman Bartholomew Gosnold, the first European to explore the area, called the headland “Dover Cliff” in 1602, after the famous formation on the English Channel. The Gay Head name was in common usage by the 1660s. In 1998, the name of the town of Gay Head was changed to Aquinnah, which roughly means “end of the island,” to better reflect the heritage of its residents.
*Framed prints are available for pickup. Call 508-560-1840 for pricing.