Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Orient Point Lighthouse or Coffee Pot, Orient Point, LI, NY

In back of me is the Orient Point Lighthouse or Coffee Pot. It was nicknamed by some of the local sailors as the "coffee pot" because of its resemblance to one.  After the invention of the automobile in the early twentieth century, it became better known as one of the "spark plug" lighthouse.

Before construction began on the lighthouse in October, 1898, the churning, white capped waves and dangerous riptides between Orient Point and Plum Island needed to be monitored.  

The Lighthouse Service began by placing day markers on the outer end of  Oyster Pond Reef in the mid 1800's, but were destroyed by winter storms and dangerous ice floes. Plans originally called for a light beacon and fog signal, but plans were meant to be broken.  After a long debate, it was decided that the coffee pot would be built right on the reef out at the far end where the sailors would be able to spot it.

Storm after storm delayed its completion until the spring of 1899 and began guiding ships in November of that same year.  The light, however, was too dim and a new lens was installed in May, 1900. 

 The first lighthouse keeper was Ole Nicolas Alfred Anderson, a Norwegian immigrant.  His wife however, was forced to live in Orient Point since it was too dangerous to live on the open water.  He was transferred to Bridgeport in September of 1901. Anderson would later serve twenty five years as lighthouse keeper to the twin lights at Navesink, NJ.

Keepers came and went as the years went by and many a tale has been passed down including one local legend of a lighthouse keeper who, in the 1920's, went mad, could no longer take the isolation and jumped to his death.

The lighthouse is now automated, but in 1970 it was deemed by the Coast Guard to be too expensive to keep up and plans were made for it to be torn down.  A group of local citizens gathered together and saved it from demolition.  Since then a more modern lens was added in 1988 and in 2000, the Coast Guard began major work on the Coffee Pot. 

According the the website, the Coffee Pot tilts about five degrees. Some rust and cracks were found on one side of the foundation a few years after completion.  Plates were added to fix the problem and it is believed that the added weight caused the lighthouse to tilt.  Another story blames the strong currents on that side of the foundation.

While the Orient Point Lighthouse cannot be reached by land and is not open to the public, it can be viewed from the beach on Orient Point. The New London Ferry also passes by the Coffee Pot and at least four more lighthouses including Plum Island, Little Gull Island, New London Ledge and New London Harbor.

Here are some links to the lighthouse:

Lighthouse where I got most of my information from.  It is an interesting website and relates a few stories that I was telling you about.  You can read them in full.

Wikipedia article

Long Island Lighthouses link:

Orient Point Beach and access road leading out to the Coffee Pot


1 comment:

  1. The Orient Point lighthouse does resemble a coffee pot. It also makes me think of a part of a battleship in that first picture. Must be something to see!