Skip to Content
HomeAbout this siteHelpSearch this site The Library of Congress
America's Story from America's LibraryMeet Amazing AmericansJump Back in TimeExplore the StatesJoin America at PlaySee, Hear and Sing
Explore the States New York
Photo of Montauk Point Lighthouse
Montauk Point Lighthouse

Enlarge this image
Montauk Point Lighthouse Museum
A Local Legacy

You may think that lighthouses are interesting to look at, and they are. But they also serve a very useful purpose.

Lighthouses guide ships sailing near a coast. They are built in different kinds of places: important locations on a coast, harbor entrances, islands, rocky ledges or reefs, and even in the water. They project strong beacons of light at night so ships can see them. Lighthouses help ships identify their locations, warn them of danger, and serve as a marker of nearby land.

The Montauk Point Lighthouse on Long Island, New York, is more than 200 years old. Built in 1796, it is the oldest lighthouse in the state. It has guided whaling ships, fishing boats, steamships, submarines, and sailboats for many years and continues to do so today. The tower is more than 110 feet tall, and a person has to climb 137 steps to get to the top. But the Montauk Point Lighthouse is not just a tower. Attached to it is a house in which the lighthouse keeper lived with his family and assistants. Since the light on top of the tower was automated in 1987, the lighthouse no longer needs a keeper.

page 1 of 1 More Stories

About Local Legacies     

Library Of Congress | Legal Notices | Privacy | Site Map | Contact Us