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Execution Rocks Lighthouse, Long Island Sound, NY Overnight Stays

execution_rocks_light_house_NYIn May of 2007, the Execution Rocks Lighthouse was excessed by the Coast Guard and offered to eligible entities through the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000. Historically Significant Structures was the only organization to submit an application, and in January of 2009, the group received the deed for the lighthouse from the federal government. Efforts are underway to raise $1.2 million and turn Execution Rocks into the first Long Island lighthouse to allow regularly scheduled overnight stays.

Experience the lightkeeper’s experience and put the ghost rumors to rest!

2 rooms, 2 persons per room. $300.00/night/room, one room one person $250.00

There is no water or electricity on the island, so plan accordingly.
 Overnight guests must provision own food, water, ice and transportation(Port Washington Water Taxi). 
 Portable camp toilet serviced by guest. No alcohol or tobacco products allowed on island.

30 days prior no cancellation, no refund policy. All rooms must be paid in full prior to arrival, upon reservation.

These rocky reefs, 1650 yards northwest of Sands Point on the western end of Long Island Sound, carry a chilling legend of how they received their name. According to folklore, which has never been proven true, the British avoided public executions in Colonial times because they would inflame the revolutionary spirit of the American people. Instead, they would carry the condemned to these reefs at low tide, chain them to rings embedded in the rock, and wait for high tide to carry out the death sentence. Some say the skeletons were left to torture the minds of the newly condemned as they faced certain death.   The ghosts of the condemned would later their revenge.

A shipload of British soldiers, sent to pursue Washington on his retreat from Manhattan to White Plains, foundered at the reef. No redcoats survived.

The legend of the executions had such hold, that when lightkeepers were assigned to Execution Rocks, they were under a unique contract.

No lightkeeper was to ever feel chained to the reef. Instead of stating a set length of duty, their contract read that their length of service was for as long as they were willing. If for any reason they requested a transfer, it was instantly granted.

Another, more benign tale of how the place got its name, comes from the settlers of nearby Manhasset Neck (Cows Neck). It tells that many ships while trying to make their way past the dangerous reef en route to Manhasset Bay were “executed” on the rocks.

Built in 1809, Sands Point Light is situated close to Execution Rocks, but proved ineffective at warning mariners of the danger in heavy fog or stormy weather. In 1837, Congress appropriated $5,000 for “a revolving or double light upon the south side of Execution Rocks.” Inspectors examined the site and reported that the allocated amount would be insufficient for a lighthouse, but perhaps a “light-boat” could be deployed nearby instead. This triggered some discussion of whether the appropriation applied to a lightship, but the point was moot as the funding was inadequate for a lightship as well.

A decade later, on March 3, 1847, $25,000 was appropriated to build a lighthouse directly on the reefs. The architectural design was granted to Alexander Parris, who, after reviewing the area, selected a site. However, local mariners argued for a different site, and the Lighthouse Board sent out an independent body to study the issue. They ended up recommending yet another site for the proposed lighthouse. Parris insisted that construction at this site would cost four to five times more than at the site he had originally selected. The lighthouse was eventually built at the site first proposed by Parris – the largest exposed rock on the reef.

The construction contract went to the lowest bidder, Thomas Butler, who proved to be less than capable. Subcontractors did the majority of the work, and the lighthouse was completed almost one year behind schedule.

The light went into service in 1850, and was tended by Daniel L. Caulkins, who retained his previous position as keeper of the Sands Point Light as well. The Execution Rocks Lighthouse rises 58 feet above sea level, and tapers from 26 feet in diameter at the base to 13 feet in diameter at the top. The original lighting apparatus consisted of 13 lamps with red shades set in reflectors. The red coloring distinguished the light from the white light of Sands Point. In 1856, the light was refitted with a fourth-order Fresnel lens.

Initially, there was no keepers’ dwelling at the rocks, though one of Caulkins’ assistants did live at the rock with his wife in the base of the tower.

On April 1, 1851, William Craft took over as headkeeper, and both he and his assistant lived in the tower on the rock. Despite the tight quarters, it would be another 16 years, before a keepers’ dwelling was erected in 1867. The two-and-a-half story dwelling was constructed of granite blocks and connects to the tower. Originally painted white, the Execution Rocks Lighthouse received its distinctive brown band in 1895. A concrete oil house was added sometime between 1910 and 1920.

Dense fog surrounded the station on December 8, 1918. Keeper Peter Forget had been running the fog signal since 7:00 a.m., when shortly after noon, he decided to take a lunch break. He noticed the engine that provided power to the light and foghorn was running slower then normal and decided to check it out. As he opened the door to the engine house, a wall of flames greeted him. He immediately radioed a distress signal, and New York City’s fireboat Cornelius W. Lawrence was soon dispatched.

Before aid arrived, the keepers, armed with buckets and fire extinguishers, courageously fought the blaze. They were soon helped by Navy patrol boats, and soldiers from Fort Slocum, who had jumped into rowboats when they received the call. Just in the nick of time, the troops removed barrels of kerosene from a storage unit on the verge of being consumed by the inferno. The lighthouse, though singed and some of its stonework badly chipped, survived the blaze.

An act of July 19, 1919, appropriated $10,000 for restoring and improving the light station. Fire came again in 1921, when an overheated exhaust pipe set the engine room’s roof on fire. This time, only minor damage was incurred, including smoke damage to the lens and clockworks.

The lighthouse remained manned until December 5, 1979, when it was refitted with a white flashing modern optic. Sightings of ghosts on the rocks have occasionally been reported, but USCG Keeper Stan Fletcher, who retired from Execution Rocks in 1970, reassured folks that he never shared the place with a ghost. Nowadays, the only earthly visitor to the Execution Rocks Lighthouse is an occasional Coast Guard attendant performing routine maintenance.

Lighthouse Keeper Page Rock Lighthouse

Captain Sutton Page Rock Lighthouse

My great great Uncle, Captain Claude Sutton served the longest of all lighthouse keepers – 40 years on the Page Rock Lighthouse off Coke in Gloucester, Virginia. Captain Sutton liked for people to stop by the lighthouse. He told someone he had just returned from his home on Cedar Bush Creek and that his wife said to him “go down to the pig pen and see the two pretty pigs that I bought yesterday.” So he did, but he saw no pigs.

He went back to the house and told his wife that the pigs were gone. She said “you must be mistaken because that is a new strong pen that I just had built. His wife then said “come go back with me”, which he did. She took a small stick and turned over a cottonwood leaf, he said, and uncovered both pigs. I said to him they must have been small. “Small”, he said, “they could stand with all four feet on a grain of corn and eat out the heart of it”. Lighthouse structures are placed on dangerous coasts and shoals located in exposed environments. Individuals who inhabited these locations were the Light keepers. The keepers took their jobs very seriously. Each of them swore an oath to keep their light burning and each of them knew they bore this awesome responsibility for the safety of the countless ships’ crew and passengers. The mariners counted on the light or the sound of a fog signal to warn them away from underwater obstacles and to guide them into a safe harbor.

From the late 1700’s until the last tower was fully automated and unmanned in the 1960s, hundreds of dedicated men, women, and their children manned the light twenty four hours a day.

Their duties were a rigorous daily routine, not to mention the nightly watch to assure the light was burning and signal timing was accurate.

Those who served at wood and coal beacons endured the hardest labor. Early lights did not have roofs until early 1800’s.

High maintenance was required for lights with mirror or lens. Lenses and mirror were cleaned, wicks trimmed, clockworks oiled etc. Fog Signal building and other equipment may also be under the light keepers responsibilities.

Light towers tend to have spiral stairs up to the top, they were required to carry oil and any other tools, cleaning supplies up with them.

Cleaning, polishing lenses and lamps every day.

Cleaning and painting the light tower and other structures.

Heceta Head Lighthouse to Shine Again

The Heceta Head Lighthouse beams shines again.

The state Parks and Recreation Department turned off the light Feb. 1, after inspectors found a problem with the lantern. Repair specialists this week finished replacing worn-out friction rollers and bearings in the carriage-wheel assembly that rotates the lantern.

The department says donations covered the $22,000 repair.

When on, the automated beacon north of Florence can be seen from up to 21 miles offshore. The light first shone in 1894.

Lighthouse Tours

There are tours in every region of the US and abroad and many ways one can tour lighthouses.  There are tours via boat, helicopter, cruise and of course by car.

Who else out there likes to travel to Lighthouses; belong to a club; travel in groups or help restore?  Which coasts or country do you prefer and what time of year?  If you don’t want to travel alone join a club or group.  If you feel energetic volunteer to restore.

Where are they?  We have listed a few below,

Boston, MA

Enjoy amazing views of the Boston skyline as you cruise Boston Harbor and explore many of the historic lighthouses in the area. On your sightseeing adventure, an expert tour guide will also be on hand to share stories about the history of the area with you. Learn all about Boston’s maritime culture and sell all the sights with this unique tour.

Portland, ME

There are six lighthouses near Portland, Maine within 20 minutes of the City. This driving tour takes about 2 hours.

Michigan

4 days / 3 nights, Meals: 3 breakfasts/2 lunch/ 3 great dinners – Visit the Northeast Michigan lighthouses, Sturgeon Pt, Tawas Pt. Lighthouse, Big Charity Island Lighthouse, and others.

New York, Long Island

Lighthouse Safaris, Inc. provides services to guide and assist small and large groups to Long Island’s lighthouses by land or sea. All tours are customized to fit groups needs.

Northern California coast

Climb to the top of one of the tallest Pacific Coast Lighthouses, Point Arena. Guided tours of the light station as well as self guided tours of the grounds are available daily.

Chesapeake Bay

Chesapeake Lights (http://www.chesapeakelights.com/) – offers a variety of tours of the offshore lighthouses of the Chesapeake Bay. Tours visit up to 10 lighthouses of the bay.

Helicopter

Eleven Lighthouse Helicopter Tour, Duration: 30 minutes Commences: Boston, Massachusetts

Tour Highlights Inlcude:

  • Whisper quiet, jet-powered helicopter with vista-windows
  • 11 Lighthouses
  • Baker Island
  • Gloucester Harbor
  • Rockport
  • Essex River
  • Hammond Castle
  • Salem
  • Highly experienced FAA certified pilots

St. George Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society (SGRLPS)  Crescent City, CA

SGRLPS is now offering helicopter flights and tours of the lighthouse to the public. The tours will be scheduled, weather permitting, Departing from the Crescent City Airport in a four place Raven R-44 helicopter, passengers enjoy a six minute flight to the lighthouse, landing on a 42 foot wide section of the caisson roof, near the base of the tower. From there they are greeted by Society Representatives and taken for a one hour tour.

The Only Off Shore Lighthouse in the World with Public Access.

Flights are $170.00 per person, cash or check only. This price could change due to fuel prices changing daily.
E-mail: tours@stgeorgereeflighthouse.us,

Haunted Lighthouses

Do you believe in ghosts or haunted lighthouses?  What better place for these sightings, phantom footsteps, fleeting apparitions, and those things that goes bump in the night, than a supposedly haunted lighthouse.  This suggests that the dedicated residents of these historic lighthouses are there to stay?

What is it about lighthouses that seems to make them ideal settings for being haunted? Perhaps it’s the isolation or the extreme age of many of these magnificent structures. Or perhaps it’s because the lighthouse keepers – who are often said to be the ones haunting the buildings – lived in solitude for long periods of time, often cut off from other people for weeks, even months at a time. Perhaps this solitude leaves a shadowy imprint of their lives within the stone and mortar of these wind and wave-swept beacons.

North Island Lighthouse a haunted lighthouse is about fourteen nautical miles from historic Georgetown, South Carolina and stands eighty-five feet high, its shape is conical and it is made of white washed brick with a black lantern room. One hundred and twenty-four stone spiral steps lead to the top. The lighthouse today dates to 1812.  There were times when the sound of chains dragging the floor overhead in the attic. Pictures would slide down the wall and crash to the floor. This went on for years and there were no reasons known to explain the noises and incidents.  Is this a haunted lighthouse?

The Point Lookout Lighthouse sits on a peninsula that marks the entrance to the Potomac River in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland.  The Civil War completely transformed the point from a pleasant vacation spot to a place scarred with permanent reminders of what had occurred on the landscape. Hammond General Hospital was constructed in 1862 to care for wounded Union soldiers. The next year, the Union began holding Confederate prisoners at the hospital. As a result, Camp Hoffman, the civil war’s largest prison camp, was constructed near the hospital. The prison camp held as many as 20,000 prisoners at one point. The prison grounds were filthy, very overcrowded and quickly became a breeding ground for disease.

When all was said and done, nearly 4,000 men had died at the camp from disease, starvation or exposure. Their bodies were buried in various locations on or near the lighthouse grounds. In later years when these gravesites were threatened by erosion, they were relocated to a spot just north of Point Lookout.

The trauma and death associated with the prison camp may help explain the many strange, paranormal events that have been reported by lighthouse keepers and visitors over the years, thus earning it the title of “America’s most haunted lighthouse”.

In the years following the end of the war, the onslaught of reports of paranormal occurrences in the area began. There were reports of strange noises such as footsteps, snoring, foul odors, lights going on and off, and disembodied voices carrying on conversations, laughing, singing happy tunes or even calling for help. One woman was reportedly awakened in the middle of the night to someone calling her name, but no one was there. Some of these strange sounds have actually been recorded by paranormal investigators over the years.

In addition to the sounds, there have also been numerous reports of apparitions. The most popular of the apparitions reported is that of the first lighthouse keeper, Ann Davis, who has been seen standing at the top of the stairs wearing a long, navy blue skirt and white shirt, her normal daily attire.

 Saginaw River Lighthouse – When the Coast Guard took over the lighthouse, strange things started to be reported.  There were sounds of heavy boots on the iron staircase but when the men checked it out there was no one there; therefore, this lighthouse is deemed haunted.


Heceta Head Lighthouse – The ghost is said to be haunted by the mother of an unknown baby whose grave was found on the grounds of the lighthouse. She moves objects and opens and closes cupboard doors. A man broke a window one day in the lighthouse and refused to enter the lighthouse to clean it up because he was told the lighthouse was haunted.  The next day his coworkers found the glass had been swept in a pile but no one had done that.


Old Port Boca Grande Lighthouse – This haunted lighthouse has two ghosts one of which is the young daughter of one lighthouse keeper who died of whooping cough or diphtheria.  People say that you can hear her playing in the upper rooms of the lighthouse. The other is the headless spirit of a Spanish princess named Josefa who refused to get married to a pirate so he chopped off her head it is said she walks the beach searching for her head.

Lighthouse Keepers

Lighthouse structures are placed on dangerous coasts and shoals located in exposed environments.  Lighthouse keepers  inhabited these locations.

My great great Uncle, Captain Claude Sutton served the longest of all lighthouse keepers – 40 years on the Page Rock Lighthouse off Coke in Gloucester, Virginia. Captain Sutton liked for people to stop by the lighthouse. He told someone he had just returned from his home on Cedar Bush Creek and that his wife said to him “go down to the pig pen and see the two pretty pigs that I bought yesterday.” So he did, but he saw no pigs. He went back to the house and told his wife that the pigs were gone. She said “you must be mistaken because that is a new strong pen that I just had built. His wife then said “come go back with me”, which he did. She took a small stick and turned over a cottonwood leaf, he said, and uncovered both pigs. I said to him they must have been small. “Small”, he said, “they could stand with all four feet on a grain of corn and eat out the heart of it”.

The lighthouse keepers took their jobs very seriously.  Each of them swore an oath to keep their light burning and each of them knew they bore this awesome responsibility for the safety of the countless ships’ crew and passengers.  The mariners counted on the light or the sound of a fog signal to warn them away from underwater obstacles and to guide them into a safe harbor.

From the late 1700’s until the last tower was fully automated and unmanned in the 1960s, hundreds of dedicated lighthouse keepers: men, women, and their children manned the light twenty four hours a day.

Their duties were a rigorous daily routine, not to mention the nightly watch to assure the light was burning and signal timing was accurate.

Those who served at wood and coal beacons endured the hardest labor.  Early lights did not have roofs until early 1800’s.

High maintenance was required for lights with mirror or lens.  Lenses and mirror were cleaned, wicks trimmed, clockworks oiled etc.  Fog Signal building and other equipment may also be under the light keepers responsibilities.

Light towers tend to have spiral stairs up to the top, they were required to carry oil and any other tools, cleaning supplies up with them.  Cleaning, polishing lenses and lamps every day.  Cleaning and painting the light tower and other structures.

Prince Edward Island Lighthouses: Light The Way Home

Author: Gentle Island

As a coastal community the lighthouses of Prince Edward Island not only served the practical purpose of lighting the way home before the era of GPS navigation, they now offer a unique opportunity to those who visit. Prince Edward Island offers a variety of lighthouse tours ranging from the scenic to the informative.PEI has a rich history and is the birthplace of confederation in Canada. It also has many historic lighthouses that were used to guide the ships delivering goods to and from Canada. PEI’s lighthouses are classified in two ways “First Generation” (built before 1873) and “Second Generation” (those built following 1873). The difference between the two types is that first generation lighthouses have an octagonal shape and were constructed when timber was plentiful in the province. The second generation lighthouses are square shaped as by this point (post 1873) PEI’s timber supply had been scarce because of the shipbuilding industry.http://www.gentleisland.com

As most are aware, lighthouses served as a navigational aid for sailors and the ships they captained. Lighthouses are towers that are positioned on sea shores, or even sometimes in harbors. They use a series of lamps and lenses to help guide navigating vessels on the high seas. Lighthouses are used to mark dangerous coastlines, steer ships away from hazards, mark safe entry points into harbors and assist in aerial navigation.  With that in mind it is important to note how important lighthouses were to trade and commerce throughout human history.

Lighthouse technology, although used less in modern times, employs a series of lamps and lenses to project light over large distances. This technology utilizes concentrated light from a single continuous source and magnifies and reflects it so that it can be beamed across open water. The first lighthouses were lit by candles, later by whale oil, then by the 1870’s kerosene was typically used.

As an island PEI boasts over 40 historic lighthouses. Surrounded by both scenic red sand beaches and rugged cliffs touring the lighthouses provides wonderful insight into maritime life and well as a rich Canadian history. Since Prince Edward Island is surrounded by water you are never to far from the breathtaking views of the gentle island.

About the author:
About PEI Prince Edward Island is widely known as the historic
birthplace of Canada. The Charlottetown conference held in 1864
was the first meeting of a series which ultimately led to the
confederation of Canada in 1867. Visit the

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