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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
New York in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Story of a Lighthouse

 
 
The Story of a Lighthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 9, 2011
1. The Story of a Lighthouse Marker
Inscription.
The Hudson River was essential to the history and economic development of New York. The river provided food for early settlers and is still an important waterway for commerce, which led to the expansion and growth of the City. The recognized source of the Hudson River is Lake Tear of the Clouds in the Adirondack Mountains. The river flows for 315 miles and meets with the waters of the Atlantic Ocean at New York Harbor. In 1825 the Erie Canal was opened, connecting Lake Erie with the Hudson near Albany. It turned the river into a superhighway for barges carrying food and goods in both directions between New York City and the Midwestern states of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.

The rocky outcropping of Jeffrey’s Hook has always been a hazard for boats on the Hudson River at night. In 1889 a red warning light was set up on wooden poles, but a better light and audible warning for boats in fog were needed.

In 1921 the Coast Guard reassembled the lighthouse here with the name Jeffrey’s Hook Light. It is constructed of 48 cast iron plates and stands 40 feet tall. It is the southernmost lighthouse on the Hudson River and the only lighthouse on Manhattan Island. Nobody ever lived in it, but a part-time attendant ran the light.

Jeffrey’s Hook Light used a blinking acetylene lamp, focused by a 5th order Fresnel lens of cut glass
Marker and the Lighthouse image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 9, 2011
2. Marker and the Lighthouse
The Jeffrey’s Hook Lighthouse can be seen behind the marker in this photo.
prisms, and a fog bell to warn navigators away from the shore. For lighthouses to show pilots where they are in the dark, they each have a specific color or pattern of flashing called a ‘characteristic’ that pilots can recognize from a distance. The Little Red Lighthouse’s characteristic is one second of light followed by two seconds of darkness.

[ Sidebar: ]
The Little Red Lighthouse wasn’t always here. In 1880 it was erected on New Jersey’s Sandy Hook, to guide ships into New York Harbor. By 1917 it had become obsolete, so it was dismantled and put into storage. In 1921, it was reassembled here to warn boats about this dangerous spot of shoreline called Jeffrey’s Hook.
 
Erected by New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Erie Canal marker series.
 
Location. 40° 51′ N, 73° 56.801′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Marker can be reached from Riverside Drive, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in Fort Washington Park, near the George Washington Bridge. The park can be reached from Riverside Drive near 181st Street via a footbridge over the Henry Hudson Parkway. Marker is in this post office area: New York NY 10033, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
Markers in Fort Washington Park image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 9, 2011
3. Markers in Fort Washington Park
Two markers are found at this location in Fort Washington Park. The Story of a Lighthouse marker is seen here on the left.
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Light Still Shines (here, next to this marker); The Little Red Lighthouse (within shouting distance of this marker); American Redoubt (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Plaza Lafayette (approx. 0.3 miles away); Highest Point on Manhattan (approx. half a mile away); Robert Magaw Defended this Position (approx. half a mile away); Fort Washington (approx. half a mile away); Site of Hilltop Park (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
 
More about this marker. The top of the marker features a photo of Lake Tear of the Clouds located in the Adirondack Mountains. Another photo of the Palisades located across the river from the lighthouse appears below this. A blueprint showing the interior and spiral stairway of the lighthouse is on the right side of the marker. It has a caption of “Line drawing prepared by Li/Saltzman Architects, P.C.
On the lower left of the maker, under the sidebar, is a photo of the lighthouse with the caption “Jeffrey’s Hook Light, Fort Washington Park, Manhattan, February 2, 1952. New York City Parks Photo Archive neg. 27245.”
 
Categories. Man-Made FeaturesWaterways & Vessels
 
Jeffrey’s Hook Light and the George Washington Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 9, 2011
4. Jeffrey’s Hook Light and the George Washington Bridge
Jeffrey’s Hook Light seen from New Jersey image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 25, 2008
5. Jeffrey’s Hook Light seen from New Jersey
The Jeffrey’s Hook Lighthouse is seen here under the George Washington Bridge in this photo taken from the New Jersey side of the Hudson River.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 10, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 525 times since then and 14 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on April 10, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.
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