BY ROBERT G. MULLER
Welcome to my first article for LongIsland.com. I thought I'd start out by telling you about a secret I've been telling for a few years now: Long Island has a lot of lighthouses.
You probably know about the Montauk lighthouse. And perhaps the Fire Island lighthouse. A real Long Island veteran might even know the Horton Point lighthouse. But that's just the tip of the iceberg.
How many of us have ever heard of the Cedar Island lighthouse? Stepping Stones? Little Gull Island? Race Rock? Stratford Shoal? Latimer Reef? Yup, there are plenty of them. Let's list them, starting just east of the Throgg's Neck bridge and going around the island clockwise:
Cold Spring Harbor (relocated to private property on Centre Island in 1965)
Lloyd Harbor (lost in a fire in 1947)
Old Field Point
Long Beach Bar
Little Gull Island
Gardiner's Island (lost in a storm March 7, 1894)
Shinnecock Bay (demolished December 23, 1948)
We also had two lightships in our waters: Stratford Shoal (1837-1877) and Fire Island (1896-1942).
Suffolk County, with 15 standing lighthouses, has more than any other county in the United States. Eight of those are in the Town of Southold, giving that township more lights than any other in the nation.
If you knew all of those facts, you're probably a member of the Long Island Chapter of the US Lighthouse Society. If you didn't know them, don't feel bad - I've been a resident of Long Island my entire 37 years and it has been only recently that I have become aware of them. For some reason, it has been kept a secret. But I'm not real good at keeping secrets.
For the last few years, I've been blabbing this secret wherever people will listen. Now, the folks at LongIsland.com are allowing me another venue for letting the lighthouse cat out of the bag.
In future articles here, I'll write about history, report on special events, give preservation updates, and even tell some lighthouse keeper gossip from years ago. And I'm always open to requests.
So now you know one of Long Island's biggest secrets. If you feel like telling someone else about it, go ahead. It's okay. I won't tell on you.
Robert G. Muller, author of "Long Island's Lighthouses: Past and Present," was the Founding President of the Long Island Chapter of the US Lighthouse Society, and is its current Historian and Preservation Coordinator. He is the creator of the LongIslandLighthouses.com web site and a volunteer at several area lighthouses. Bob conducts lectures on the lighthouse history of Long Island, narrates cruises, leads tours, and has written articles for magazines and newspapers. He has been featured in Newsday and Long Island Boating World, quoted in the New York Times, and appears in the Long Island Lighthouses program that appeared on News12 Long Island.