Saving George Washington’s Lighthouse?

blogmontauk On Wednesday Aug 1, a House-Senate conference committee approved a conference report that included $7 million to build a 840-foot-long 12.6-ton quarry stone revetment around the Montauk Point Lighthouse to protect George Washington’s Lighthouse from sea erosion. The Montauk Point erosion control project has been in the House-Senate conference since May for reconciling two bills, S. 1248 and H.R. 1495 introduced for the Water Resource Development Act of 2007.

Montauk Point Lighthouse was the first Federal authorized Lighthouse (April 12, 1792) which was commissioned by President George Washington on Aug 18, 1795 as the first Lighthouse in New York to warn and guide mariners of the dangerous shoals and rocky reefs surrounding Montauk Point which was frequently enshrouded with dense fog. The distinctive red sandstone Lighthouse was First Lit on Nov 5, 1797 exhibiting a Fixed White Light illuminated by 13 Whale oil lamps 100-feet above sea level. For more information on the changes to the Lighthouse over the years, please click on the photo of this post.

The designers of the Montauk Point Lighthouse knew that erosion was a key factor by locating the Lighthouse 297-feet away from the point at the west end of the Turtle Hill plateau noting that Montauk Point is “washed by the sea in storms.” They predicated the Lighthouse would last 200 years protecting navigation en-route to New York Harbor. Over the past 200 years, approximately 200-feet of Montauk Point has eroded into the sea. Today, Montauk Point Lighthouse is less than 100 feet from the edge of the bluff.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed a 700 foot stone revetment at the base of the bluff shortly after World War II to control erosion caused by wave action. The project was unsuccessful as storm waves over-washed the seawall causing its collapse during the early 1950s.

Last November (2006), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began a study to solve the erosion of the bluff. The study concluded a seawall and revetment was best way to protect the Lighthouse from the sea since moving the sandstone Lighthouse may cause the Tower to collapse and destroy the bluff in the process. According to a Report by the Chief of Engineers, the cost of the Montauk Point seawall project was estimated at $14 million and Federal funding will be $7 million if the Water Resource Development Act of 2007 is approved.

According to the news story in The East Hampton Star, the reporter incorrectly stated “the Lighthouse is slated for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.” The Lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1969. According to a news release by Senators Charles E. Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton dated July 20, 2006, Montauk Point Lighthouse is under consideration as a National Historic Landmark (NHL) which would provide national recognition for the exceptional value of the Lighthouse in representing the history of the United States. To date, the National Park Service has not listed a NHL Nomination for Montauk Point Lighthouse.

Montauk Point Lighthouse is a scenic site to visit offering exceptional views of Connecticut, Block Island, and Rhode Island on a sunny day and a romantic location for engagements and Wedding Ceremonies.

blue_starLighthouse Background:
For more information about Montauk Point Lighthouse, please click on the photo of this post.

blue_starMap Location:
For Google Map Directions, please visit the Google Map of Montauk Point Light

Related News Source:
$7 Million Earmarked For Lighthouse

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,


About Debbie Dolphin

Lighthouse author and photographer living in New England

Posted on August 3, 2007, in Preservation News and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: