LONG ISLAND LIGHTHOUSES
When picturing Long Island, it is hard having anything other than a lighthouse being the first image that comes to mind. These iconic buildings are the quintessential landmark that locals and tourists alike associate with the Island. To many, the beacon symbolizes more than just the beaches and calm waters – but reminds us of the comforts of home, and where we came from. For others, it evokes fond memories of family vacations out east, or trips to some of the local Long Island beaches on a warm summer’s day. No matter what Long Island Lighthouses evoke in your mind, it is undeniable that they are an important part of the history of Long Island. Make sure to visit a Long Island Lighthouse if you’re visiting, or even if you’re a local just looking to experience Long Island heritage, Lighthouses are a unique piece of history not to be missed. At nearly 120 miles in length, Long Island holds some of the most beautiful lighthouses in the United States, including quite a few that welcome visitors to climb to their perches to enjoy spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. Many Long Island lighthouses are accessible via private tours and boat trips. Long Island is home to over 25 New York lighthouses, each with a history and story of its own. One of the most famous New York lighthouses is the Montauk Point Lighthouse, commissioned by George Washington in 1796. It is one of three Long Island lighthouses that permit a climb to the top of the tower, along with Fire Island Lighthouse and Horton Point.
I was fortunate recently to be back up on the Island and have the opportunity to go out to the Montauk Point Lighthouse, and have been to the Fire Island Lighthouse numerous times, while growing up in Brightwaters (Bay Shore area). I look forward to visiting there again real soon.
I am providing an overview of many of Long Island’s Lighthouses. Unfortunately there are some that are on private land and are therefore inaccessible.
EXECUTION ROCKS LIGHTHOUSE, Port Washington, NY
Execution Rocks Light Station, an offshore light, is located in the northwestern portion of the Long Island Sound in the center of the channel between Sands Point and New Rochelle, New York. It is about one mile offshore. The light station is on a protective artificial island with a small boat basin. The light station was established in 1849 and the tower was first lit in 1850. The Light Tower was designed by Alexander Parris. It is built from granite and is an example of wave-swept tower engineering. The goal is to restore the light keeper’s dwelling into a Bed and Breakfast. The three hour tour from Port Washington Town Dock on Main Street in Port Washington is a joy for tourists and history buffs.
Fire Island Lighthouse Robert Moses State Park Field # 5, Fire Island, NY 11770
Located on Fire Island National Seashore just east of Robert Moses State Park. Walk the scenic boardwalk, climb to the top of the tower, visit the museum, and see the original 1858 Fresnel lens on display.
The Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society’s mission is to preserve, maintain and operate the Fire Island Lighthouse and keeper’s quarters to promote Long Island’s heritage and culture. It is also east of the Robert Moses State Park. The first Fire Island Light blinked on in 1826 to guide ships to New York Harbor with a beacon 74 feet above sea level. But shipwrecks continued to occur, and the U.S. Lighthouse Board decided the beacon was too low for a major coastal light. Congress appropriated $40,000 and the current 166-foot brick tower was illuminated November 1, 1858, and became the first light sighted by transatlantic ships and tens of thousands of immigrants. The black and white bands on the tower were added in 1891. The lighthouse with its classic beehive-shaped Fresnel lens throwing a beam 21 miles went dark in 1974 and was replaced by an automated light on the water tower adjacent Robert Moses State Park. But as a result of the raising of $1.2 million by the Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society, the Fire Island Light has been relit with an automated beacon.
Lighthouse Road, Southold, NY 11971
Open to public weekends during the summer. Horton Point Lighthouse is on the north-fork of Eastern Long Island. The current lighthouse was established and the tower was first lit in 1857. The site is on a bluff 60 feet above Long Island Sound. The tower was automated in 1933 and is now operational. The light was deactivated from 1933 to 1990. The foundation is granite and the lighthouse is built out of granite and brick with stucco. The tower is 58 feet high with the focal plane of the light being 103 feet above sea level. The tower is white with a black lantern and a copper dome. The light has a slow green flash every ten seconds.
Cedar Island Lighthouse Cedar Point County Park, East Hampton, NY 11937
The lighthouse is the subject of a preservation project. The lighthouse is situated on Cedar Island, just off of Cedar Point, between the waters of Northwest Harbor and Gardiners Bay. Settled in 1651, Cedar Point was once a busy port for shipping farm goods, fish, and timber from Sag Harbor. The historic Cedar Point Lighthouse stood on an island 200 yards from shore when it was built in 1860. Its beacon served to guide whaling ships in and out of Sag Harbor during its hey-day as a major port. The hurricane of 1938 transformed the shoreline, shifting sands to create a narrow, walkable strip that now connects the lighthouse with the mainland.
Cold Spring Harbor Lighthouse Centre Island, Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724
Currently located on private property on Centre Island. No public access. Cold Spring Harbor Light was a lighthouse located in Cold Spring Harbor on the North Shore of Long Island. It was built in 1890 to mark a shoal at the entrance to Cold Spring Harbor. After the lighthouse was deactivated in 1965, the original light and tower were purchased by a private individual and moved to its current location on land, 1 mile to the southwest. An automated light tower and day beacon were erected on the original caisson, and continues to serve as a navigation aid.
Huntington Harbor Lighthouse
Huntington Harbor Lighthouse, formerly known as Lloyd Harbor Lighthouse, is located in Huntington Bay. The lighthouse was established in 1857 and the current tower was first lit in 1912. The light was automated in 1949 and is still operational. The foundation and lighthouse are made of cast reinforced concrete. The reinforced concrete foundation and structure is unique to the area, as well. The foundation for the light was built nearby on land, then floated to the site and sunk. The tower is square “castle” in the Beaux-Arts style. In 1912 a fifth order Fresnel lens was installed. In 1857, a lighthouse was built on the tip of Lloyd’s Neck to assist ships in finding shelter in Lloyd Harbor from the wind and waves that often hinder navigation on the Long Island Sound. This first lighthouse, called the Lloyd Harbor Light, was of little help to ships entering the Huntington Harbor. In 1912, a new lighthouse was built to serve Huntington Harbor. In 1949, the light was fully automated. The deterioration of the unoccupied lighthouse started and would continue for almost two decades. As a result of a 1983 survey, the light was deemed unsafe for servicing personnel and too expensive to repair. The Coast Guard considered demolishing the lighthouse and erecting a steel tower. In 1985, a group called Save Huntington’s Lighthouse was formed by local citizens to save the lighthouse from demolition. It became the first private group in the country to successfully take over and restore an offshore lighthouse. The lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988 under the name of Lloyd Harbor Lighthouse.
Located off the northeast end of Fisher’s Island. No public access. Latimer Reef Lighthouse is a sparkplug lighthouse located at Latimer’s Reef in Fishers Island Sound. The lighthouse is located one mile northwest of East Point on Fisher’s Island, New York. Originally called Latemore’s Reef after James Latemore. The property was described as “Latimer Reef Light was completed in 1884. It sits in 18 feet of water at the western end offshore of Fisher’s Island Sound. The light includes a 30-foot-diameter cylindrical caisson foundation painted brown. The caisson is filled with concrete. This foundation supports a 46 foot cast iron superstructure that includes a four-story conical tower topped by a one-story cylindrical watch room and decagonal lantern. The tower, watch room and lantern are painted white with a brown stripe a full story tall around the tower’s third story. The property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Little Gull Island Lighthouse
East Plum Island, Plum Island, NY No public access. The first lighthouse was a 51-foot high tower established in 1806, which was replaced by the current 81-foot conical tower and a second order Fresnel lens in 1869. The lighthouse was automated in 1978 and is still operational. The foundation is a granite pier and the construction material is granite. The US Coast Guard has identified Little Gull Island Light as one of its Historic Light Stations in New York. In 2009 Little Gull Island Light was put up for sale under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act.
– Fisher’s Island, New York. No public access.
North Dumpling Island is the northernmost of two islands in Fishers Island Sound, located about 0.3 nautical miles north of South Dumpling Island. The two-acre island is privately owned by Dean Kamen, and is home to the North Dumpling Lighthouse. It is a mile off the coast of Connecticut, south of Groton, Connecticut, but is within the territory of the town of Southold in New York State.
Race Rock Lighthouse
Located off the west end of Fisher’s Island. No public access. Mariners cannot help but admire this lighthouse perched on notorious Race Rock. Built in 1879, the gothic revival Keeper’s Quarters support the square and octagonal tower. An engineering feat in its time, this sentinel stands as a magnificent example of Victorian charm. The reef is a dangerous set of rocks off the coast of Fishers Island on Long Island Sound and was the site of many shipwrecks. Race Rock Lighthouse was built between 1871 and 1878. Designed by Francis Hopkinson Smith, the lighthouse is an excellent example of 19th century engineering and design. The massive masonry foundations on the reef required seven years to complete. Once the foundations were secure, the stone structure, including the keeper’s quarters and the tower, were built in only nine months. The lighthouse has a fourth-order Fresnel lens in a tower standing 67 feet above the waterline. The lighthouse was automated in 1978 by the Coast Guard. The lighthouse is believed by some to be haunted and was featured on an episode of Ghost Hunters and seen in the show’s opening credits.
Plum Island Lighthouse Plum Island, New York. No public access.
Plum Island Lighthouse is located on the western end of Plum Island, east of Orient Point. An historic granite lighthouse originally built in 1869 sits at the site, but no longer serves as an active aid to navigation. The lighthouse was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011. A short distance northwest of the granite lighthouse building is a 14 feet metal tower that holds the automated light that has served as an aid to navigation since the earlier light was decommissioned in 1978. In 1826 the west end of Plum Island was purchased from Richard Jerome for $90 for the purpose of building a lighthouse. The following year a 35 feet high stone tower had been constructed to support the first light. That first light consisted of ten whale oil lamps with reflectors. The light helped navigation near the entrance to Long Island Sound, through the channel between Orient Point and Plum Island. In 1856 the original lamps and reflectors were replaced by a sixth-order Fresnel lens. Keepers were removed from Plum Island in 1978 when the light was automated on a structure built to the side of the 1869 lighthouse. In 1994 the Fresnel lens was removed from the lighthouse and is on display at the East End Seaport Museum in Greenport. In 2007 a resolution was passed by the Town of Southold that will transfer ownership of the lighthouse to the town, and to eventually refurbish and relight the Lighthouse. The Plum Island Lighthouse, like all of Plum Island, is not open for public visits. The light may be seen from the water, but landing on the island is restricted to persons authorized by the United States Department of Homeland Security.
Montauk Point Lighthouse Museum.
Montauk, NY 11954 National Maritime Historic Landmark. This is the oldest lighthouseon Long Island, as well as well as the oldest in New York State, completed in 1796 on a spot where the Royal Navy had maintained signal bonfires for its ships during the American Revolution. Congress appropriated funds in 1794 to buy the site. Three years later, President George Washington authorized the construction of the lighthouse after many ships had been lost on the reefs at land’s end. The builder was John McComb Jr., a famous early American architect, who was given a budget of $22,300. Now only 50 feet from the edge of the bluff (originally 297 feet), the 80-foot sandstone tower is threatened by erosion. Almost $1 million has been spent to terrace the bluff and haul in boulders to save the lighthouse. The Coast Guard operates the beacon, which was automated from Fresnel lens to 1,000-watt airport-type beacon in 1987. The Montauk Historical Society operates the visitor center and takes care of the grounds. It is located at the easternmost tip of Long Island.
The first trip that I remember going on with my parents was to Niagara Falls, New York, and must have been about 2 ½ years old. I know my mom told me that they did not have a yellow rain coat that was small enough for me to wear, so we had to improvise with the smallest one that they had. I remember the different ways the water fell over the rocks and cliffs, some memory stayed with me all of my life because to this day, I like fountains, and water falls that are in so many places.
Growing up on Long Island, we went in to New York City often to events such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Easter Parade, also to go to the theatre as well as explore art museums. We also explored county and state historic sites on the Island. There were also trips upstate New York to visit my grandmother as well as aunts, uncles and cousins.
On one of the trips upstate, we took a side trip to Cooperstown, New York to the Baseball Hall of Fame which is a must see for any baseball fan (as my brother and I were and we still are). I have visited many interesting places in the State of New York growing up, such as going to the Adirondacks, Lake George, Sleepy Hollow (the setting for Washington Irving’s Headless Horseman).
I was in Girl Scouts and one of the trips we took was up to the United States Military Academy at West Point. I also got to see the homes of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt who were also native New Yorkers. Plus visiting Albany (the state capitol).
When I was around 10 years old we took a family trip at Thanksgiving to Williamsburg, Virginia, while enroute there we stopped and paid respects at Arlington National Cemetery at the grave of President John F. Kennedy. (how ironic that many years later I would live in Washington, DC/Northern Virginia and be able to go to Arlington frequently to take pictures and more). Talk about time travel!!!
Another time when I was in the fifth grade we went to Miami Beach during Easter break from school. An irony to this trip that while we were there we actually saw my fifth grade teacher down there as well (who was staying at a different hotel). Totally unplanned!!!! Other trips I remember were going to Plymouth Village, Massachusetts (This living museum recreates Plymouth as it was in 1627, and does a great job at separating fact from the enduring (and completely inaccurate) legend of the First Thanksgiving. Historians and curators have paid great attention to detail, from the street plans to furniture, tools, and cooking equipment. Specially bred 17th-century livestock occupies the barns and pastures, and trained reenactors and artisans demonstrate how life was lived among the Pilgrims. In addition to information on the European colonists, visitors can find information on the Native American population at Hobbamock’s Homesite. Hobbamock, a Wampanoag Indian, lived with his family in Plymouth from 1621-1641, as part of a peace treaty agreement) and is the site of where the Pilgrims landed in the 1600’s from England as well as going to Salem, Massachusetts to visit the place where there were numerous witch trials of people accused of doing unchristian activities. (Three Historic Cemeteries. Salem has wonderful, historic cemeteries, including the Old Burying Point Cemetery on Charter Street, Howard Street Cemetery, and the Broad Street Cemetery. The Old Burying Point is the oldest cemetery in Salem, and in it you can see the graves of, among others, a Witch Trials judge, a Mayflower passenger, and architect Samuel McIntire. Cemeteries are open from dawn until dusk, and exploration is encouraged. Since 1626, when Conant arrived with the first settlers, Salem, Massachusetts has been attracting people from all points of the compass. Many come to visit and some decide to stay and make Salem their home.
It may be most widely known as the site of the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692, but this colorful, coastal city has much to offer both residents and visitors: a culturally diverse population, a rich maritime heritage, an impressive display of historic architecture and amazing stories that span almost four centuries.)
We also went to Boston, Massachusetts. I remember visiting Faneuil Hall and other historic places, following the Freedom Trail, and even riding in a Swan Boat. And even a trip to historic Sturbridge Village!!!!. (Old Sturbridge Village is one of the country’s oldest and largest living history museums, depicting early New England life from 1790-1840 with historians in costume, antique buildings, water-powered mills, and a working farm. Visitors can view antiques, meet heritage breed animals, and enjoy hands-on crafts. The Village is open year-round, but hours change seasonally).
We went to Stowe, Vermont and visited the Von Trapp Family Lodge (the Von Trapps of Sound of Music fame). This location is reminiscent of the Salzburg area of Austria where they were from and that is what drew them to the Stowe area when they emigrated here. On the same trip, we also went to other areas in the State of Vermont, went to New Hampshire and into Maine where I remember going to Bar Harbor (a small island) and seeing lobsters being brought in as well as other fish being brought in by the fishermen (reminiscent of seeing fishermen bringing in their daily catch where I grew up in Bay Shore/Brightwaters). I can safely say that I have been to every state on the east coast of the United States.
Another trip I remember was on a summer vacation from school, we drove down to Florida (possibly either 1972 or 1973) going first to the Tampa/St. Petersburg area where we went to Bush Gardens. Then we drove to Orlando where we went to Walt Disney World (which was only the Magic Kingdom at the time). A few places that I enjoyed was (and is) the Haunted Mansion, the Hall of the Presidents and the Small World ride. There are other places at the Magic Kingdom that I enjoyed as well. I have also been to the Outer Banks and Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Kitty Hawk is the spot where the Wright Brothers took the first airplane flight. The original Wright Flyer is in the National Air and Space Museum which is a part of the Smithsonian Institution. A replica is in the museum at Kitty Hawk that commemorates this historic event. In Ocean City, Maryland I have gone parasailing numerous times, each time I’ve gone up higher. I have plans to go sky diving when the weather is nicer. And have been to numerous historic sites and towns in Virginia as well.
I got to travel to many places while I was working for the United States Department of Justice; the first trip that I went on was to San Antonio, Texas for a week long paralegal conference. It was exciting to be there and stay in a hotel along the fabled River Walk, where one can stroll and listen to local music, find wonderful shops and quaint cafes to eat and drink at. I also got to see close-up the Alamo which was originally Franciscan mission. I also had the opportunity to go to Sea World San Antonio.
The next trip I went on was to Atlanta, Georgia, where I was helping at a workshop for Criminal Attorneys. In my spare time, I went to underground Atlanta located at Five Point, this is an area of old Atlanta that sustained major damage during the Civil War when Atlanta got burned by the Northern Soldiers. I was fortunate to be able to go to the Margaret Mitchell House & Museum and the typewriter she used to write “Gone With the Wind” plus some other items that were her inspiration for the novel (Gone With the Wind is my all-time favorite book and movie). Also spent time exploring other parts of Atlanta and outside the city as well. It was fascinating to be in such a place.
I have been to Billings, Montana for pre-trial conferences and meeting with witnesses. I remember one of the times there for meetings it was in holiday season and it was snowing. There was to be a holiday street festival and one of the highlights for me was the hot roasted chestnuts which I hadn’t had in years. On one of the trips to Billings, I had the opportunity to drive to the National Park Site of Little Big Horn, where American troops fought the local Indian Tribe, and the American soldiers lost their lives, including their leader, General George Armstrong Custer (he was a West Point Graduate and he is buried back at the Academy).
I made numerous trips to Denver, Colorado, went to Colorado Springs, Colorado (where the training center and Offices for the UnitedStates Olympic Committee is located as well as Pike’s Peak). I found and interesting mining town called Georgetown which still has a working mine. I found in Denver, the Molly Brown House and Museum. Molly Brown may be better known as the Unsinkable Molly Brown. She got the nickname Unsinkable for having survived the Colorado floods, and the sinking of the Titanic. She rose up from poverty to rich and was never go backwards. The house and museum give the visitor a glimpse of a time and era gone by. And to show how the rich and neuvorich lived.
I went to Salt Lake City, Utah for meetings and visited the Mormon Temple area, which was impressive even lit up at night, and felt fortunate to be able to go to a concert of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir while I was there. ON a subsequent trip to Elko, Nevada I had the opportunity to drive back from Elko to Salt Lake City and to drive along the Great Salt Lake and Bonneville Salt Flats.
I have also been to Reno, Nevada (for meetings, not to gamble); Phoenix, Arizona; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Sedona, Arizona, Norfolk, Virginia, Los Angeles, California; and San Francisco, California. I remember going to Old Town Albuquerque and getting Turquoise jewelry, and pottery. In San Francisco riding the Cable Cars, going to Fisherman’s Wharf, Nob Hill, and Ghirardelli Square and even crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. I’ve even been to the Grand Canyon.
The first trip overseas that I took was to Denmark, seeing the sights such as Tivoli Gardens, the Little Mermaid statute, spending time exploring the fascinating capitol Denmark. Visiting the home of Karen Blixen (the author of Out of Africa) and the gardens behind the house, going to Ellsinore Castle (which is the setting for Shaskespere’s Hamlet, other parks and castles plus so much more. In addition to visiting with famiy while I was there. I was also able to take a boat tour of the canals of Copenhagen. Plus checking out the stores such as Royal Copenhagen and others. And shopping along the Stroyget for bargains. There are many beautiful parks and many castles all around this wonderful country waiting to be explored and discovered.
I had a few hour layover in Switzerland and got to do a little exploring in Zurich, plus on my next overseas, had a little layover in Paris, enroute home from Italy. My first stop in Italy was Rome where I spent several days exploring the eternal city. Going to the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica was a thrill in itself (the seat of the Catholic Church) to be able to stand in the same place as the Pope was amazing. And to see it with my own eyes and close up!!!! Going to the Ruins and the Forum, The Trevi Fountain Borghese Gardens….and more. I took the train from Rome to Pisa one day, and went to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and even got to see the Church of the Miracles while I was there. What an awesome experience that was, and an architectural wonder the Leaning Tower is and the detail on both the Tower and the church is beyond description. Pictures can’t do it adequate justice. I then took the train back to Rome.
From Rome I went to Verona for several days. Verona is the setting for three of Shakespeare’s plays: The Taming of the Shrew, Two Gentlemen of Verona and Romeo and Juliet. Legend has it that one rubs the breast on the Statute of Juliet you will have good luck in love and in your life, the balcony at the Casa de Giulietta. The House of Romeo, Tomba di Giulietta, Piazza delle Erbe (since ancient times continues to be used as a vegetable and fruit market), Castel Vecchio, Piazza dei Signori, Piazza Bra, Corso Cavour. There are so many beautiful Chiesa’s (churches) in Verona as well as in Rome. Roman Theatre and so much more to see , experience and to do. Such a wonderful educational experience so much better than any textbook.
One of my many interests is in art, when I go to an art gallery I find enjoyment in looking at not just the special exhibits that may be there, but everything. In looking at the art work (paintings or sculptures) it is interesting to look at the setting, detail, line and my mind wanders to when the artist was working with the work (be it Davinci,Michaelangelo, Raphael. Manet, Monet, Kandinsky, Peale,etc), the use of color also plays an important part. I get lost in all that I am looking at and get transported to a different time and place. I guess being being exposed to art at such a young age peaked my interest in this genre, with being able to go to places such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), and the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and some smaller galleries in New York started my interest. Even being able to go to places like the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC and the Hirshorn, the Corcoran and Phillips Galleries, plus so many other places, gives one an outstanding appreciation of such wonderful works of art. It’s also fascinating to watch an artist working on a piece of work that is a comissioned piece or one that will go to a gallery (have observed wonderful artists woking on beautiful paintings on the streets in Italy and other locations).
Uno dei miei molteplici interessi è l’arte, quando vado a una galleria d’arte trovo piacere nel guardare non solo le mostre speciali che possono essere lì, ma tutto. Nel guardare l’opera d’arte (dipinti e sculture), è interessante osservare l’impostazione, dettaglio, la linea e la mia mente vaga a quando l’artista stava lavorando con il lavoro (sia esso Davinci, Michelangelo, Raffaello. Manet, Monet, Kandinsky , Peale, ecc), l’uso del colore gioca un ruolo importante. Mi perdo in tutto ciò che sto guardando per ottenere trasportati in un altro tempo e luogo. Credo di essere esposta all’ arte in così giovane età ho raggiunto il mio interesse in questo genere, con la possibilità di andare in posti come il Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), e il Museo di Arte Moderna (MOMA) e alcuni più piccoli gallerie da New York ha iniziato il mio interesse. Pur essendo in grado di andare in posti come la National Gallery of Art di Washington, DC e il Hirshorn, la Corcoran e Gallerie Phillips, oltre a tanti altri luoghi, dà un apprezzamento eccezionale di queste meravigliose opere d’arte.
E ‘anche affascinante osservare un artista che lavora su un pezzo di creazione, commissionato, che andrà a una galleria (ho osservato meravigliosi artisti e i loro lavori bellissimi, dipinti per le strade in Italia e in altri luoghi).