The village and harbor at Vineyard Haven have long been referred to as
Holmes's Hole. The island's busiest harbor received a $5000 appropriation
for a lighthouse in 1817. A 25-foot rubblestone tower and dwelling
20 by 34 feet was completed that year. The light housed ten Argand lamps.
James West was appointed as the first keeper.
Reports in 1838 and 1843 indicated that the station was kept in good condition by
the keeper, but was deteriorating due to poor construction. Due to erosion, the tower
was only 37 feet from the cliff. In 1846, a new tower and dwelling were
built 975 feet southeast of the original location. Winslow Lewis installed
a new lantern, which was replaced by a fourth-order Fresnel lens in 1857.
Numerous changes took place at the site. In 1854 three range lights were constructed.
They were discontinued only two years later, and replaced by a beacon
on top of the keeper's house. This was, in turn, discontinued in 1872.
In 1882, a fog signal and assistant keeper's residence was added. The main
keeper's residence was rebuilt in 1888.
By 1891. nearby houses were obscuring the tower. A new 45-foot tower
was built, and painted red brick. The tower was repainted white in 1899.
An oil house, garage, and lookout tower were subsequently added.
As lights were automated in Martha's Vineyard, they were maintained
by the keeper at West Chop.
The light was automated in 1976. The light is still active.
One of the two residences is for Coast Guard personnel. The
second is used by vacationing servicemen.
Lighthouses of Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket - Their History and Lore, Clark pp. 178-181
The Lighthouses of New England, Snow p. 293
The Lighthouses of Massachusetts, D'Entremont pp. 79-89
Massachusetts Lighthouses - A Pictorial Guide, Thompson pp. 90-91
Lighthouses and Life Saving Stations Along the Massachusetts Coast, Claflin p. 117
New England Lighthouses, Roberts and Jones pp. 76-77
Lighthouses of Massachusetts, Roberts and Jones p. 76
The Lighthouse Companion - Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire, Rezendes pp. 116-117
Lighthouse Digest March 2006