Tarpaulin Cove Light, Naushon Island, Gosnold, Massachusetts
Originially built in 1818, current tower built in 1891.
TARPAULIN COVE LIGHT
Location: TARPAULIN COVE ON NAUSHON ISLAND, ELIZABETH ISLANDS, MASSACHUSETTS
Station Established: 1759
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1891
Foundation Materials: NATURAL/EMPLACED/CONCRETE
Construction Materials: BRICK
Tower Shape: CYLINDRICAL ATTACHED TO WORKROOM
Relationship to Other Structure: SEPERATE
Original Lens: FIFTH ORDER FRESNEL, 1856
* In 1759 Zaccheus Lumbert, who ran the local tavern, established a light on Naushon Island for the “public good of the Whalemen and Coasters”. For nearly six decades the light was maintained.
* The government made appropriations for an official light at Tarpaulin Cove in 1807. It would be
another decade before any action was taken to actually build the light.
* In 1818 a rubblestone tower with a “bird cage” style lantern room was built and lit. Some reports list the tower’s height at 38 feet but others say 27feet. A fifth order Fresnel lens was installed in 1856.
* By 1891 the lighthouse needed to be replaced. A 28-foot brick tower was built with a conventional cast iron lantern. A fourth order Fresnel lens was installed in the new tower. At the same time, a 1,200 pound fog bell with striking machinery was installed. The bell tower was destroyed in a hurricane in 1938.
* The light was automated in 1941. By 1962 the Keeper’s house fell into such disrepair it was torn down. The Fresnel lens was replaced by a modern optic.
* The light is managed by the Cuttyhunk Historical Society. It remains an active aid to navigation.
Researched and written by Melissa Buckler, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.