People from all over the world visit Gay Head lighthouse. The popularity of the gaily, colorful cliffs and iconic lighthouse is nothing new. Charles Vanderhoop assistant light keeper, according to a newspaper article, retired on disability in 1933 due to "visitor-itis!"
A century later in 1975, the popular lighthouse caught the eyes of Hollywood and Steven Spielberg. There's a shot of Gay Head Lighthouse in the Academy Award thriller, "Jaws.” When it was being relocated, the lighthouse was in the spotlight again in 2015. I was visiting Martha’s Vineyard during this time.
My painting depicts the lighthouse as it was being moved against the backdrop of the cliffs. A splash of the ocean is shown in the background.
Despite all the fanfare, the Gay Head Lighthouse was built in 1799 to warn mariners about the treacherous, submerged obstructions called “Devil’s Bridge.”
Tourists probably weren’t a concern during the service of Gay Head's assistant female light keeper, Lydia Adams. There were no roads for easy access to the lighthouse during her term, 1869-71.