Historical Guide Since 1867
Lloyd Neck Lighthouse
Northeast storms, churning from the sound from Mystic to Oyster Bay can be wicked, as any mariner knows. At the widest reach, southwest from New Haven, and a 45–knot Northeasterly wind can create a real sea. At night before 1857, ships had no choice but to run in the dark for shelter in land-locked Lloyd Harbor.
Sometimes they came to grief along the spur that juts out southward from the tip of Lloyd’s Neck. For this reason in 1847, the government bought five acres of sand on a peninsula from Jonah Denton (1812~1892), whose family had owned the property on the Neck for several generations, after having purchased it originally from Daniel Whitehead of Oyster Bay. In 1857, the original area lighthouse was built on the tip of Lloyd's Neck at the end of East Beach to be visible to any craft that cleared Eaton’s Neck. It marked the entrance to Lloyd Harbor and in moderate weather, served vessels making their way at night through “the Gut” into Huntington Harbor.
The Lloyd Neck Lighthouse consisted of a 2 story white wood framed house with 11 rooms attached to a brick lighthouse tower with a 5th order Fresnel lens and an “ Argand” lamp. The Argand lamp used a round (tubular) wick where standard kerosene lamps have a flat wick. The Argand lamp was both brighter and cleaner burning than a standard kerosene lamp. The wick had to be trimmed daily to keep the lamp burning at maximum brightness. The lamp burned “oil” or kerosene at the rate of 3 to 4 ounces per hour. This first lighthouse was of little help to ships entering the adjoining Huntington Harbor. In 1912, a new lighthouse was built to serve Huntington Harbor.
Although the Lloyd Neck Light was not used as a lighthouse after 1912, it served as the keeper’s residence until 1925. On November 12,1947, the wooden structure of the original light was destroyed by fire. A news article in the Nov 13th Long Islander paper states “ It was 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 that destroyed the lighthouse”.
The ruins of Lloyd Neck light can still be seen today looking directly west at East Beach of Lloyd Neck from the lighthouse.
Keepers of Lloyd Neck Lighthouse
John S. Wood: June 1857- August 1857
Abiathia Johnson: August 1857 - May 1861
Alanson Pearsall: May 1861 – September 1861
A. Johnson: September1861 - April 1869
S.C Darling: May 4, 1869 – April 13,1874
George R. Johnson: April 1874 – November 1884
Neil Ward: November 1884 - September 1885
Robert Mc Glone: September 1885 - Feb 1911
The last two official keepers of the light were Robert McGlone and Caretaker Augusta “Gussie” Harrigan. The five acres of lighthouse property became known as the “eminent domain” of McGlone, his wife and five children. With infinite labor, McGlone brought
topsoil from Lloyd’s Neck to make a garden plot that had been cleared of native growth. Then, in 1900, tragedy darkened the happy home when Mrs. McGlone and her sixth
child died in childbirth. The later celebrated Augusta “Gussie” Harrigan, a local, 31 year old spinster, came to the lighthouse to take care of the five motherless McGlone
children. When the government erected a new lighthouse at the entrance to Huntington harbor in 1912, Robert McGlone was made its first keeper. “Gussie” and the children
remained at the old lighthouse. Ms. Harrigan eventually became the caretaker /resident keeper of the light at the old lighthouse until she officially retired on October 1,1925 at the age of 56 years. Shortly after her departure, vandals went to work destroying this guardian of the night.
Huntington Harbor Lighthouse
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, with the help of her father-in-law, Dr. Douglas Harrington organized the non-profit group, 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 owned by 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.
Keepers of Huntington Harbor Lighthouse
(February 1,1911~January 31,1919).
Robert McGlone, who had been keeper of the original light since 1885, was appointed first keeper of the new light in 1911. When he died in 1919, he had served 34 years at both lights.
(February 1,1919~ March 31, 1919).
Acting lighthouse keeper, succeeded McGlone on February 1, 1919 but only lasted two months.
Marvin E Burnham
- (March 31,1919~September
- (October 1,1926 ~ March 31,1928).
- (April 1,1928 ~ March 14,1929).
Emil J. Brunner
- (March 14,1929 ~ July 1,1930). Appointed lighthouse keeper and after serving 16 months at Lloyd Harbor, he transferred to the Hudson City Lighthouse, now named Hudson-Athens Lighthouse,where he served until May 30,1949 at which time he retired.:
- (July 1, 1930 ~ June 30, 1933).
Robert L. Howard
- (July 1,1933 ~ December 31,1935).
- (January 1, 1936 ~ March
- (P/T Keeper 1935 & 1936)
(Lloyd Neck & Cold Spring Harbor). At the age of 96, Louie was an active member of the Huntington Harbor Lighthouse Preservation Society.
Richard J. White
- (April 1, 1938 ~ June30, 1942). He was transferred from West Bank Light in Lower New York Harbor. When the Coast Guard assumed jurisdiction over all aids to navigation in 1939, it allowed White to stay on as a civilian keeper until he retired in 1942.