Cedar Point County Park, Northeast of Sag Harbor.
Original structure (1839):Wooden,
contained Sixth Order Fresnel lens after 1855.
Existing structure (1868-1869):
35 feet, Boston granite style architecture, constructed of New England
granite; previously had Sixth Order Fresnel lens; tower is 4 stories tall,
attached structure is 2 1/2 stories; foundation is granite, with a five
foot wide walkway around structure, originally had a wrought iron railing
around the foundation.
1837, March 3: Congress
appropriates $1000 for the construction of a lighthouse on Cedar Island.
1838, July 7: Another $2500 is
1838, August 13: East Hampton Town
trustees agree to sell Cedar Island to the government.
1838, August 20: The island is
sold to the federal government for $200.
1839: Original wooden lighthouse
1855: The nine lamps with 14 inch
reflectors are replaced by an Argand lamp and Sixth Order Fresnel lens.
1867, March 2: $25,000
appropriated for construction of a new lighthouse.1868: Present structure
built by a Massachusetts contractor.
1869: The construction of the new
light is completed.
1882: "A fog-bell, struck by
machinery, was established."
1891: "The boathouse was moved and
overhauled, a drive well was put down, and various repairs were made."
1894: "A set of boatways were
1899: "A set of fifth-order lamps
were furnished and fitted. Various repairs were made."
1903: 600 tons of riprap were put
1904, August 10: 2000 tons of
riprap were put on the northern side of the light to ease the erosion of
the island, which was down to less than one acre, from its original three
1904, December: Another 2000 tons
of riprap were added.
1906, September: Another 2000 tons
of riprap were added.
1908, January 24: A storm and high
tide combined to cover most of the island with water and cause further
erosion. The sturdy structure suffered no ill effects.
1936, June 22: A survey shows that
the high water line has encroached almost halfway across the base of the
light's stone pier. The size of the island is now .947 acres and a note on
the survey tells us that the "size and shape of [the] island is continually
changing as a result of erosion and accretion."
1937: Lighthouse and surrounding
acre bought at government auction by Phelan Beale, a Manhattan lawyer, for
1938, September 21: Hurricane
created a sand bar between the island and the shore, turning Cedar Island
into Cedar Point.
1943: Sold to Isabelle Bradley.
1967: Acquired by Suffolk County.
1974: A fire heavily damaged the
building The cause has been reported in at least one book and one newspaper
article as vandalism. My sources, including a newspaper article from the day
after it burned and two people who worked for the Suffolk County Parks
Department at the time, suggest a different cause. I will be researching
this more. The roof and oak interior were destroyed by the blaze. After the
fire a new roof was installed and the doors and windows were sealed.
2000, Summer: The Long Island
Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society is formed. One of its prime projects
will be to work to have the lighthouse and oil house stabilized in
anticipation of a future restoration.
2001, Summer: The Lighthouse
Society and Suffolk County Department on Parks, Recreation and Conservation
begin discussions about the light's future.
2002, February - March: The Parks
Department and Lighthouse Society negotiate, and sign, an agreement that
allows the Society to act as a steward for the lighthouse. Both entities
immediately begin planning for the project.
2002, February: With the Society's
assistance, the Parks Department applies for a grant that will allow for a
thorough architectural assessment of the site.
2002, March 23: The Society and
Parks Department officially announce their partnership at a public press
conference held at Cedar Point County Park. With the lighthouse in the
background, US Congressman Felix Grucci; NY State Assemblyman Fred Thiele;
Governor Pataki's regional representative, Steve Halsey; Suffolk County
Parks Commissioner Peter Scully, Assistant Deputy Commissioner Judy Gordon;
and Long Island Chapter President Robert Muller address a crowd of over 70
people. Also in attendance were State Senator LaValle's representative Ann
Libassi, the Sag Harbor harbormaster, and representatives of the Sag Harbor
Whaling Museum, and Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce. Afterward, 40 people
walk out to the lighthouse to take a peek inside the lighthouse, which had
been sealed for 28 years.
2002, March 28: A representative
from the NY State Historic Preservation Office visits the lighthouse to
begin the process of nominating the lighthouse for the National Register of
Historic Places. The State, County, and Society will work together to have
the lighthouse listed.
2002, September - The lighthouse
is approved for inclusion on the State and National Registers of Historic
2003, Spring - Initial work on the
lighthouse includes sealing it up, removing toxic materials, and installing
scaffolding on the interior to facilitate further work.
2004, May - The 1902 oil house is
completely restored to the 1920s-30s era.
2004, November - An architectural
assessment is conducted on the lighthouse by Walter Sedovic Associates. A
written report will follow.
2004, December - Harbour Lights
announces that its replica of Cedar Island will debut in March 2005.
2005, January - The Long Island
Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society arranges with Harbour Lights to sell
100 replicas, with all profits going to the preservation of the lighthouse.
use: Inactive and abandoned, but at
the start of a preservation effort.
surrounding area: Cedar Point County Park is a very nice
park which happens to be on the way to the Montauk light. Bring your
binoculars for birding and whatever shoes you prefer for walking along the
sand to the lighthouse. For those of you who like birds, Morton National
Wildlife Refuge is about fifteen minutes or so west of Cedar Point and is
known for the friendly chickadees, nuthatches and titmice that will eat out
of your hand. The historic Villages of Sag Harbor and East Hampton are
www.sagharborchamber.com for more information about local events and the
Sag Harbor area.
access? Yes. Located on county park lands.
Light on the Hudson River is similar, but is made of brick instead of
granite blocks. The former lighthouses at
Creek were also similar in design.
information: Was originally on Cedar Island, an island 200
yards offshore named for its cedar grove, which became a peninsula during a
hurricane in September 1938. There are still cedar trees on the peninsula.
The light's original purpose was to help whalers sail safely between
Northwest Harbor and Gardiner's Bay. The overall shape of the present
structure, including the roofline and tower, is very similar to the
Saugerties light on the Hudson River. The Saugerties light, however, is made
of brick, while the Cedar Island light is granite. The original wooden
lighthouse was located about 140 feet Northeast of the present light.
Cedar Island Lighthouse on June 6, 1999