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Montauk Point Lighthouse

Montauk Point Lighthouse

A Brief History: The Montauk Point Lighthouse is located at 2000 Route 27, Montauk, New York 11954. Its first lighthouse keeper was Jacob Hand, and its last civilian keeper was Thomas Buckridge. When famous road and park builder, Robert Moses, built Montauk Point Parkway in 1931 thousands of visitors began to visit the lighthouse. Commissioned to be built by President Washington in 1796, the Montauk Lighthouse stands high above the Atlantic Ocean. It was the first lighthouse built in New York State.

During the American Revolution, the British built watch fires on the bluff called Turtle Hill where the lighthouse would be built. These watch fires burned as guides for their ships which were blockading Long Island Sound. After the Revolution, the building of the lighthouse was authorized by the Second Congress. The builder was John McComb, along with fifty men. The United States Coast Guard began to operate the lighthouse from 1939 until 1987. During WWII the coast guard and the United States Army stationed themselves at the lighthouse. In 1942, a fire control station was built on the lighthouse grounds. This was done in order for U.S. Army Artillery Division to coordinate with cannon crews stationed at Camp Hero, just west of the lighthouse.

Today, the only owner of the Montauk Lighthouse is the Montauk Historical Society. They use admission fees, gift shop sales and private donations to preserve the lighthouse. Many visitors come to climb the 137 steps of the lighthouse and to enjoy the fantastic views. Long ago, one important visitor was Walt Whitman. Today, behind the lighthouse is a bronze monument, which honors all of the Long Island fisherman lost at sea. The lighthouse even has a mascot called “Maggie Thunderpaws.” She is a black Newfoundland dog whose many duties include, taking pictures with visitors, “speaking” with people and comforting children who are sick.

In March 2012, the Montauk Lighthouse was designated a historical landmark and one of only 11 lighthouses in the nation.

Haunted History: The only questionable, haunted history was that of a seventeen-year-old girl named Abigail Olsen. She was the only survivor of a ship that had wrecked in the Atlantic Ocean near the lighthouse. Abigail was washed ashore, but unfortunately died in the hours after on December 25, 1811. Some have said to have heard noises coming from the lighthouse tower at night.

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