Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fire Island Lighthouse, Fire Island, LI, NY

The Fire Island Lighthouse, which stands in back of me, has been an important part of history.  It has guided ships crossing the Atlantic since 1858, although the very first lighthouse didn't look like exactly like the one I'm in front of.

 The very first lighthouse was completed in 1826 and was set back at the end of the Fire Island.  It was built in the shape of an octagonal pyramid made from Connnecticut River blue split stone.  It was only 74 ft high, too small for the ships to see, so it was taken down and the stones were used to build the terrace of the present lighthouse.
A new tower began construction after Congress appropriated $40,000 in 1857. It was considerably taller than the original and stood at 168 feet tall.  Originally red brick and painted a creamy yellow, it changed to the black and white bands of the present day in August 1891. 

The Fire Island Lighthouse was first lit with a Fresnel Lens and gave off one light flash every minute.  Different fuels were used to light the lamps until electricity finally reached the lighthouse on September 20, 1938, a day before the Great Hurricane of 1938 struck Fire Island, cutting off all electric power and caused a delay to reinstate the lighthouse with electricity.  In 1939, management of the lighthouse moved into the jurisdiction of the U.S. Coast Guard when the United States Lighthouse Service was dissolved.  .  

In 1973, the Fire Island Lighthouse was decommissioned. The Coast Guard gave the National Park Service a five year permit during which time, the lighthouse deteriorated.  Due to limited funds, a group of concerned citizens got together to create the Fire Island Preservation Society in 1982.   The raised over 1.3 million dollars to restore and preserve the lighthouse.  In 1984, the lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  .

Thanks to the Society, the Fire Island Lighthouse has been restored to its 1939 condition and was relit and reinstated in 1986.  In 1996, the Society took over the maintenance and operation of the lighthouse. 

You can still see the lights of the Fire Island Lighthouse.   It flashes every 7.5 seconds and is highly visible for up to 21 to 24 miles.

As usual, here is the site for the Fire Island  Lighthouse.  Please check it out as there is a virtual tour of the lighthouse.  The virtual tour is located in the Photos and Multimedia Section.


  1. Love Lighthouses, Clyde! Thanks so much for sharing your visit to this one! :o)

  2. Very interesting and love the photo!

  3. I love the photos and the lighthouse is amazing in itself.