Last updated: 05:00 PM ET, Fri May 29 2015

Gay Head Lighthouse on Martha's Vineyard Moving Locations

Destination & Tourism | Donald Wood | May 29, 2015

Gay Head Lighthouse on Martha's Vineyard Moving Locations

Photo via Twitter

When many travelers think of Martha's Vineyard, one of the first images that come to mind is the historic Gay Head Lighthouse, but the landmark is on the move as historians transport the building away from the coastline.

According to The Associated Press, the 160-year-old Gay Head Lighthouse began a multi-day move from its current location on Thursday due to erosion and other natural forces resulting in the lighthouse moving closer to the edge of the Gay Head Cliffs.

In order to ensure the historical landmark would avoid falling over the cliff and into the water below, crews specially trained to move old buildings without damaging them began working on the lighthouse with the intention of starting the transportation process on June 10.

With favorable weather and crews getting the building ready early, the transporting of the Gay Head Lighthouse was pushed up and began Thursday. The crews have already lifted the structure six feet into the air, placing it on a frame that could be moved easier, and began the arduous process of sliding it slowly to its new destination.

The Twitter account of 7News in Boston shared an image of the structure on the move:

The lighthouse weighs in at about 400 tons, and now that it is on the wood and steel frame, the building will be moved slowly along a series of steel beams and rollers using hydraulic jacks to help relocate the structure.

As for where the lighthouse will be moved, construction teams built a concrete pad that will be used as the foundation of the building about 129 feet southeast of its original location. The lighthouse is expected to reach its final destination Saturday.

The move is part of a $3 million effort to move the lighthouse and restore it as a tourism-friendly historical landmark. The lighthouse was built to help sailors around the treacherous Massachusetts coast, and the building will still provide the same service, but will be a bit farther from the shore.

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