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Fire Island Lighthouse facts for kids

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Fire Island Lighthouse
Fire Island Light Station 1.jpg
Fire Island Lighthouse
Fire Island Lighthouse is located in New York
Fire Island Lighthouse
Fire Island Lighthouse
Location in New York
Fire Island Lighthouse is located in the United States
Fire Island Lighthouse
Fire Island Lighthouse
Location in the United States
Location Fire Island inlet, Long Island
Coordinates 40°37′56.8″N 73°13′6.9″W / 40.632444°N 73.218583°W / 40.632444; -73.218583
Year first constructed 1826
Year first lit 1858
Automated 1986
Deactivated Active, inactive 1974–1986
Foundation Connecticut River Blue Stone/timber
Construction Brick encased in cement
Tower shape Conical tower
Markings / pattern Four black and white bands
Height 168 feet (51 m)
Original lens First order Fresnel 1856
Current lens Carlisle & Finch Company
Range 24 nautical miles (44 km; 28 mi)
Characteristic Flashing White 7.5 seconds counterclockwise.
ARLHS number USA-286
USCG number 1–695

The Fire Island Lighthouse is a visible landmark on the Great South Bay, in southern Suffolk County, New York on the western end of Fire Island, a barrier island off the southern coast of Long Island. The lighthouse is located within Fire Island National Seashore and just to the east of Robert Moses State Park. It is part of the Fire Island Light Station which contains the light, keepers quarters, the lens building containing the original first-order Fresnel lens, and a boat house.


Fire Island Light, the original Fresnel lens
The original first order Fresnel lens

The current lighthouse is a 180-foot (55 m) stone tower that began operation in 1858 to replace the 74-foot (23 m) tower originally built in 1826. The United States Coast Guard decommissioned the light in 1974. In 1982 the Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society (FILPS) was formed to preserve the lighthouse. FILPS raised over $1.2 million to restore the tower and light. On May 25, 1986 the United States Coast Guard returned the Fire Island Lighthouse to an active aid to navigation. On February 22, 2006, the light became a private aid to navigation. It continues to be on the nautical charts, but is operated and maintained by the Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society and not the USCG. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981 and a boundary increase for the national historic district occurred in 2010.

It is listed as Fire Island Light, number 695, in the USCG light lists.

When the lighthouse was built it was on the edge of Fire Island Inlet and marked the western end of Fire Island. However Fire Island has extended itself through accumulating sand so that the lighthouse is now nearly five miles (8.0 km) from the western end of the island at Democrat Point.

The Archives Center at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History has a collection (#1055) of souvenir postcards of lighthouses and has digitized 272 of these and made them available online. These include postcards of Fire Island Light with links to customized nautical charts provided by National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

The lighthouse celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2008, the same year as the 100th anniversary of Robert Moses State Park.


Fire island lighthouse
Fire Island Lighthouse

The lighthouse can be accessed by a short walk from Robert Moses State Park – Field 5. It is open to the public daily. Tower tours are available for a small fee.

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