Local History

Huntington Bay – Local History

From the lantern room if you look to the north you will see the Long Island Sound with Connecticut in the background approximately 12 miles away. Toward the right, you can just make out the Eaton Neck Lighthouse, which is operated by the USCG. Towards the left is Lloyd Harbor. This area was rich in clay beds and about 1760 a large foundry called Crossman Brick Co. was established to make brick, which were shipped out on barges to a growing Manhattan. This area, which was the Matinecock Indians name for Lloyd Neck, Caumsett, and meaning, “place by sharp rock”, is the name for the 1426-acre State park, in which Target Rock National Wildlife Refuge is located. This large rock which is sitting in the water in line with bell buoy “8” is named “Target Rock”. British warships would use Target Rock for shooting practice. If you walk south along East Beach, you will come upon the ruins of the original Lloyd Harbor Lighthouse and the entrance to Lloyd Harbor. To the south is the entrance to Huntington Harbor with Sandy Beach to the right. This is a private beach owned by the residents of Wincoma. Many boat captains had wished that the lighthouse had been built much sooner as many ships found themselves grounded on the rock while entering Huntington Harbor. Looking down the entrance to Huntington Harbor, you can see Coindre Hall and the great lawn. This majestic castle was built by pharmaceutical tycoon George Brown for his wife. It is now called the Gold Coast Museum and serves a multitude of uses for community functions. This is a Suffolk County Park and the Lighthouse can be viewed from this location. Also located in Huntington Harbor, the Huntington Yacht Club founded on September 15, 1894, had an initial entrance fee of $25 with annual dues of $15 for membership. To the east is the entrance to Centerport and Northport Bay and a strip of beach is known as West Beach Park. “Sand City” is located adjacent to this beach and this is where the lighthouse crib was fabricated.

The Town of Huntington History

When white men arrived here the main tribe of Indians in the area was the Matinecocks led by Chief Raseokan, also spelled Ashoroken. The main camp sat on what is now the Keyspan power plant. The Marapaques led by Tackapousha resided to the southwest and the Sucatoues led by Resorsechck resided to the southeast. The tribes paid an annual tribute to the New England tribes, but they recognized the sovereignty of the great Sachem Chief Wyndanch. The territory, ruled by the Matinecocks was called Ketewomoke. The Indians called the neck of land Caumsett meaning “place by sharp rock”. The Town of Huntington dates from April 2nd, 1653, when three Oyster Bay men bought from the Matinecock tribe, a parcel of land that is now known as "the “ First Purchase." The Oyster Bay men immediately turned the land over to a group of white men who had already settled within its boundaries. Most of the early settlers were English people who came to Huntington by way of Massachusetts and Connecticut. As a result, they felt more of a kinship with New England than with their Dutch neighbors to the west in New Amsterdam. In the years between the first settlement of the town and the start of the American Revolution, Huntington became an established community. The earliest settlers clustered near what became known as the "town spot", the site of the present Village Green. As the town prospered and grew, people moved to fill the outlying areas. In addition to the many farms that were established in remote as well as central portions of the town, the town included a school, a church, flourmills, saw mills, brickyards, tanneries, a Town dock and a fort. Huntington's fine harbor meant that shipping became an important part of the economy. The harbor was a busy place, with vessels traveling not only to and from other ports along the Sound but also as far as the West Indies. Ship making and related nautical businesses prospered, since water was for many years by far the most efficient way to transport both goods and people. Nathan Hale landed at Huntington in 1776, coming by boat from Norwalk, Connecticut on a spying mission for George Washington. Sent to gather information about the British forces on Long Island and in New York City, he was captured and executed in New York City in September 1776. A memorial stands at the approximate site of his coming ashore in Huntington, an area now known as Halesite.

The railroad was extended from Syosset to Northport in 1867. The arrival of the railroad in Huntington presaged the decline of the maritime economy, although shipping was important until approximately the turn of the twentieth century. Since shipping had long been an important part of the life and economy of Huntington, the Town continued to be connected to the rest of the world. With the increased accessibility of Long Island by steamboats, trains and later automobiles, Huntington became physically less isolated.

Lloyd Harbor Lighthouse History

1838: George Bach recommends the establishment of a small beacon light to aid ships at the entrance to Lloyd Harbor.

1847: US Government purchases 5 acres of sand on a peninsula from Jonah Denton (1812—1892), whose family had owned the property on the Lloyd Neck for several generations, after having purchased it originally from Daniel Whitehead of Oyster Bay.

1854: US Congress appropriated $40,000 for the construction of a lighthouse on Lloyd's Neck.

1857: Original light constructed on southern tip of Lloyd's Neck. This light's purpose was to help ships find refuge in Lloyd Harbor, which is adjacent to Huntington Harbor. The lighthouse was a 2-story white wooden frame structure with 11 room, an attic and an offset white brick tower with a fifth order Fresnel lens. The signature of the lens was a fixed white light. The house rested on a deeply laid foundation of brick. This was a large Keeper residence with enough space to house a family.

1857, November 15: Lloyd Harbor light illuminated.

1905: Huntington residents submit a petition requesting a 2nd lighthouse at the entrance to Huntington Harbor.

1910-1912: The United States Lighthouse Service contracted with the Charles Meade Company to build the new lighthouse at the entrance to Huntington Harbor on the outcrop of rocks approx. ½ mile offshore. The new design featured a floating crib, which was fabricated at a site known as “Sand City” and towed to the site. The base was sunk with concrete and a terra-cotta block with concrete construction was used and was the first lighthouse to be built in this manner on the East Coast.

1912: Lloyd Neck light transferred to Huntington Lighthouse

1925: Lloyd Harbor lighthouse discontinued as keeper’s residence and the building became increasingly damaged by vandals.

1928: Town of Huntington gains control of original light.1947, November 12: Wooden structure of original light destroyed by fire. Article in the Nov 13th Long Islander states "It is believed that hunters had occupied the building Tuesday night and through carelessness in having a fire inside one of the old fireplaces caused the blaze."

Huntington Harbor Lighthouse History

1905: Huntington residents submit a petition requesting a 2nd lighthouse at the entrance to Huntington Harbor.

1910-1912: The United States Lighthouse Service contracted with the Charles Meade Company to build the new lighthouse at the entrance to Huntington Harbor on the outcrop of rocks approx. ½ mile offshore. The new design featured a floating crib, which was fabricated at a site known as “Sand City” and towed to the site. The base was sunk with concrete and a terra-cotta block with concrete construction was used and was the first lighthouse to be built in this manner on the East Coast.

1912: Lloyd Harbor original light discontinued with fifth order Fresnel lens transferred to Huntington lighthouse. The height of the focal plane is 42 feet above high water mark. Its rectangle shape gives it the appearance of a castle.

1924: State of New York obtains original light and property.

1949: Lloyd Harbor lighthouse automated.

1967: Fifth order lens replaced by present 300mm optic.

1967: In the September 7,1967 issue of the “Notice to Mariners”, the Coast Guard announced that it planned to close Lloyd Harbor Lighthouse, and replace it with a new buoyage system to mark the entrance to Huntington Harbor. The announcement triggered so many protests from boaters and various shipping and oil companies asking that the light be kept in operation as an active aid to navigation that the coast guard cancelled its plans to discontinue it.

1984: Federal government decides to demolish the 1912 light, originating the formation of Save Huntington's Lighthouse, Inc.

1985: A nonprofit organization called the Save Huntington’s Lighthouses acquired the light station as part of a 30-year land lease from the Coast Guard and the Department of Transportation.

1986: Coast Guard removed collapsed roof. New roof installed.

1989: Light listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Reference No. 89000050.

1989: The Lloyd Harbor Lighthouse was renamed Huntington Harbor Lighthouse.

1997: New steel dock installed by United States Coast Guard.

1998, July 2.: The Save Huntington Lighthouse Board of Directors holds it first meeting at the Huntington Harbor Lighthouse.

2003: Installation of boat float with a ramp to provide access to the lighthouse.

2003: The Huntington lighthouse is opened to visitors for the Town of Huntington 350th Anniversary.

    A 501-c3 Non-Profit Corporation.

Huntington Lighthouse
PO Box 2454
Halesite, NY 11743

Phone: 631-421-1985
Email: Info@HuntingtonLighthouse.org

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