Lighthouse Profile: Tarpaulin Cove Light, Gosnold, MA

Tarpaulin Cove Light. Photo Tom Richardson

Tarpaulin Cove Light sits on the southern shore of Naushon Island in the Elizabeth Islands chain, on a knoll overlooking its namesake cove.

The cove serves as a protected anchorage for recreational boaters, and is one of the few places in the Elizabeths where the public is allowed to go ashore.

The present lighthouse, which is not open to the public, was built in 1891, although the site has served as an official lightstation since 1817. It once included a lightkeepers house and fog-bell station, the latter destroyed in the 1938 Hurricane.

Automated in 1941 station continues to serve as working aid to navigation, with the structure managed and maintained by the Cuttyhunk Historical Society.

Quick Facts

Established: 1817
Present lighthouse built: 1891
Automated: 1941
Construction material: Brick

Tower height: 38 feet


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