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Remains of the Original Fire Island Lighthouse

By Louis Trapani - Posted on 23 September 2009

For those that may have been following my Fire Island Lighthouse adventure via Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and Posterous might be interested in knowing that this lighthouse is not the original Fire Island Lighthouse. The first Fire Island Lighthouse completed in 1826 is no more. All that remains is the foundation near the existing lighthouse.

The original lighthouse was hexagon shaped structure only about half the size of the existing one. It was taken down in 1858 when the present one was lit. 

I photographed some informational plaques located at the site which tells the story. In a nutshell, the original was not doing its job. The beacon light only reached 14.5 miles out to sea and shipwrecks continued. Its replacement lighthouse beacon can be seen more than 20 miles out to sea.

The flagpole which can be seen in some of the photos I previously posted in off in the distance here in this post is said to be the approximate height of the first lighthouse.

The first lighthouse foundation was lined with bricks in the late 1800s for experimental power generator. The building next to the foundation is a boat house that was moved from the bay next to what was going to be the power generator. 

Both the foundation of the first lighthouse and the boat house are currently fenced off as you can see here in the photographs.

I swear the boat house can be seen with a smiley face on one side of it. Plans are afoot to move the boat house back closer to its original location by the bay. Hence the reason it is closed off now and is on stilts.

The terrace of the present lighthouse were constructed with the Connecticut River Blue Stone from the first lighthouse.

If you like to know more of the history of this lighthouse, see the Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society website at

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