On March 7,1907, Congress appropriated $40,000 for construction of a new lighthouse on a reef extending north from West Neck at the entrance to both Lloyd Harbor and Huntington Harbor. The new structure completed in 1912 was a unique lighthouse, in both design and construction. The Venetian Renaissance (Beaux Art) style makes the light look like a small castle. The reinforced concrete foundation and structure is unique to the area as well. The crib or foundation for the light was built nearby on land at "Sand City" then floated to the present site and sunk. It was sunk by filling it with water, to the hard-sand bottom of the reef that had been leveled and cleared of rocks. The interior spaces were filled with concrete, which resulted in an extremely heavy, stable footing for the new light. The site also included a band of riprap (a wall of large stones thrown together without order), which surrounded the foundation to protect the lighthouse.
An octagonal lantern gallery surrounds the two-story tower. The original lantern was a fifth order Fresnel lens. Screwed to the floor of the gallery is a large fog signal bell embossed with the date and city of origin: Jersey City, N.J. 1911. The bell weighs 1000 pounds and was added to the light in 1912. It had to be rewound every three and one half hours.
Rising through the center of the tower is an iron column to which is attached a circular cast iron stairway leading to the gallery above. At one time the keeper's dwelling had a kitchen, sitting room and one bedroom. The cellar had an oil room, coal room and a 2000-gallon water cistern. Keepers drew the water from the cistern by using a hand pump in the kitchen. Huntington Harbor Lighthouse is essentially the same structure today, inside and out, that was built in 1911. When the new lighthouse was built it did not have any modern conveniences; no electricity, running water and no indoor plumbing. This lighthouse housed members of the Lighthouse Service, and then the US Coast Guard, for 55 years. In 1939, the US Lighthouse Service was dissolved and the operation taken over by the US Coast Guard. After the Coast Guard automated the light in 1949, the handsome and unique lighthouse gradually slipped into decline. By 1985, the deterioration of the lighthouse had become so great that the Coast Guard was ready to destroy it and erect a steel tower on the ruins. They would have done that, too, if it had not been for the cries of protest from the boaters, shipping interest and local inhabitants. The Coast Guard relented when a group of concern citizens led by Janis Harrington, a teacher from Greenlawn, organized the Save Huntington's Lighthouse Inc. whose stated goal was to save and restore the lighthouse. In 1988, the Huntington Lighthouse was added to the National Register for Historic Building, Reference No. 890000501. The Huntington Lighthouse is currently leased to the Huntington Preservation Society (formerly Save Huntington Lighthouse Inc.) and is an active aid to navigation with the light as the main signaling device along with the foghorn, which is maintained by the US Coast Guard.
The tower height is 48 feet tall with the focal plane of the light at 42 feet above mean high water. In 1949, the Coast Guard automated the light and installed the foghorn to replace the bell.
Official Fan Page of the Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society. www.huntingtonlighthouse.org
Completed in 1912, and operational in that year, I did not have three of the 'modern' conveniences, electricity, indoor plumbing or running water. Life was tough at best and the keeper was at the mercy of the elements. This aid to navigation housed two lighting devices. One was the 5th Order Fresnel lens, the other was the Argand lamp. The Argand lamp used a tubular wick, where the standard lamps of the time used a flat wick. The Argand lamp produced a brighter light and burned cleaner than a kerosene lamp. The wick had to be trimmed daily and consumed 3-4 ounces of oil an hour. Another signaling device was a large cast bell, still at the lighthouse. The tower height is 42 feet above the water at high tide, and is a fixed, flashing white light, visible for 9 miles. About 1947, the USCG automated the light and installed a fog horn. Although I am still an active navigational aid, the age of the Lightkeeper was coming to an end. I am the earliest example of reinforced concrete construction on the East Coast, and was one of the last lighthouses to be built.
Ongoing restoration and maintenance of Huntington Harbor Lighthouse