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Eatons Neck Lighthouse

Eatons Neck Lighthouse

A Brief History: Eaton’s Neck lighthouse is located on Lighthouse Road in Northport New York. In 1646, Theophilius Eaton purchased the land from the Matinecock Tribe. The seventy-three foot tall lighthouse was completed in 1799. It’s the second lighthouse built on Long Island by John J. McComb, who also built the Montauk Point lighthouse. The lighthouse saw more ship wrecks due to the rocks extending north and east three quarters of a mile.

One storm in December of 1811, 60 ships and most of the crews got lost in the rocks. Complaints were finally made in 1837 about the light in the lighthouse and Lt. Blake found upon inspection that all the lamps were defective, the keeper admitting that the lamps were bad censured for keeping a bad light. The lamps should’ve been condemned due to them not reaching past 7-8 miles off shore. The light beacon was changed in 1858 to a single third-order fresnel lens. It still remains in service today now run by electricity.

January 13th, 1840 the shore had one of its worst maritime disasters. Steam ship Lexington, carrying cargo and passengers from New York and Stonington Connecticut, caught fire because the cotton bales were too close to the stovepipe. The flames couldn’t be extinguished, which caused the ship to lost control and power which caused paranoia and chaos to break out aboard the ship. Only four people survived out of over a hundred. One of the survivors was floating on a bale of cotton for 48 hours before reaching the shore and walked ¾ of a mile to the nearest house.

In 1868 some renovations to the lighthouse were made by replacing some of the steps and windows adding cast iron parcels and a deck plate. In 1869 they added coast guard housing and installed a siren fog signal in 1871, blowing over 500 times a year. The fog signal uses a lot of fresh water, so they also installed a well and cistern to keep it running.

After being threatened with demolition local activists fought and succeeded in having Eaton’s Neck Lighthouse placed on the register for historic places. Today it is still used as an active coast guard station and continues to show light from a century old lens (the only one still active on Long Island). The lighthouse is currently closed to the public.

Haunted History: Visitors have claimed to have heard the sounds of men screaming from the water. Visitors have also claimed to have had uneasy feelings while touring the lighthouse.

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