Little Gull Island Light

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Little Gull Island Lighthouse
Little Gull Island Light is located in New York
Little Gull Island Light
Locationoff Fisher's Island, New York in Long Island Sound
Coordinates41°12′23″N 72°06′25″W / 41.20639°N 72.10694°W / 41.20639; -72.10694Coordinates: 41°12′23″N 72°06′25″W / 41.20639°N 72.10694°W / 41.20639; -72.10694
Year first lit1869
ConstructionGray granite tower, attached to red dwelling on pier
Tower shapeConical Tower
Markings / patternNatural
Tower height81 feet (25 m)
Focal height91 feet (28 m)
Original lensSecond Order Fresnel lens
Range18 nautical miles (33 km; 21 mi)
Characteristic2 Flashing White, 15 secs
Fog signal1 blast ev 15s (2s bl)
ARLHS numberUSA-440 [1]
USCG number1-19830 [2]

Little Gull Island Light is a lighthouse on Little Gull Island, off Fisher's Island, New York in Long Island Sound.


The first lighthouse was a 51-foot (16 m) high tower established in 1806, which was replaced by the current 81-foot (25 m) conical tower and a second order Fresnel lens in 1869. The lighthouse was automated in 1978 and is still operational. The foundation is a granite pier and the construction material is granite.[3]

In 1813, the light was extinguished by a group of Royal Marines in a raid led by Commodore Thomas Hardy during the War of 1812.[3]

On May 12, 1881, the Galatea, bound from Providence, Rhode Island to New York, ran aground in the calm due to the dense fog. Two days later, the ship was able to get off the island without damage. The Lighthouse Board opened an investigation because it was suspected that the fog signal was not operational during that time. The naval officer in charge of the investigation, French Ensor Chadwick,[4] spent time questioning witnesses and others who might have heard the signal, and tested the signal at various locations around Little Gull Island. He concluded that the fog signal was operational during the time as the signal was heard at Mystic, Connecticut and a tug boat that was farther away than the Galatea, and that the aberrations and eccentricities around Little Gull were even more significant than around Beavertail Lighthouse where sound tests were run later in 1881.[5][6]

The US Coast Guard has identified Little Gull Island Light as one of its Historic Light Stations in New York.[7] In 2009 Little Gull Island Light was put up for sale under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act.[8]

Eight bids up to $381,000 have been received.[9][10][11]

The sale of the Little Gull Light Station, established in 1869, broke the record for the highest bid received to date for lights under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. Located offshore in Long Island Sound, New York, the historic, 81-foot granite tower sits on one acre and was sold at a public online auction for $381,000. [citation needed]

Little Gull Island Light is shown on the NOAA Chart 12354[12]


The Archives Center at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History has a collection (#1055) of souvenir postcards of lighthouses and has digitized 272 of these and made them available online. These include postcards of Little Gull Island Light [13] with links to customized nautical charts provided by National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

Reference list[edit]

  1. ^ ARLHS World List of Lights
  2. ^ Light List, Volume I, Atlantic Coast, St. Croix River, Maine to Shrewsbury River, New Jersey (PDF). Light List. United States Coast Guard.
  3. ^ a b Bleyer, Bill (October 8, 2006). "Little Gull Sheds Light on Past; Visitors Mark 200th Anniversary". Newsday. Section G.
  4. ^ "Don't Believe Your Ears". The New York Times. February 22, 1891. p. 9. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  5. ^ "The Propeller Galatea Ashore". The New York Times. May 14, 1881. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  6. ^ History of American Steam Navigation, John H. Morrison, W. F. Sametz & CO., New York, 1908, pg 587
  7. ^ "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: New York". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office. Archived from the original on 2017-05-01.
  8. ^ "NHLPA 2009 Program, Notices of Availability". National Park Service. Retrieved 2009-06-06.
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-04-11. Retrieved 2013-03-21.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ [2]
  12. ^ NOAA Chart 12354
  13. ^ Smithsonian lighthouse postcards Archived 2010-03-11 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]