6 Best Lighthouses on the East End

For lighthouse enthusiasts around the world, the East End of Long Island is the perfect place for spotting historic lighthouses in scenic ocean landscapes. With over 20 lighthouses rich with history to feast your eyes on, we’ve narrowed down the list to the top six must-see lighthouses of the East End..

Orient Point Lighthouse

Nicknamed the “Coffee Pot,” the Orient Point Lighthouse was built in late 1899 on the Oyster Point Reef in the ocean. In 1970, the Coast Guard announced plans to dismantle the building, but a public outcry led to the beloved lighthouse in being restored.The Coast Guard finally relinquished control of the lighthouse through a public auction in 2013. The auction winner, Randy Polumbo, was charged with preservation of this historic landmark. Though the lighthouse is not open to the public, its beauty can still be seen today from Orient Point or the ferry that runs between Orient Point and New London.

Plum Island Lighthouse

The Plum Island Lighthouse, was built in 1827 on the west end of Plum Island and was deactivated about 150 years later. It was so badly neglected that the generator house fell into the ocean in 1997. The Long Island Chapter of the US Lighthouse Society then began to save the lighthouse by placing large rocks at the bluff’s base to stop it from eroding any further. Current efforts are underway to restore the lighthouse, thought because the island is private, it is not accessible to the public.

Little Gull Island Lighthouse

The original form of the Little Gull Island Lighthouse was built in 1806 to guide mariners past a treacherous reef that caused shipwrecks. It was also one of the first navigational aids provided by the federal government. During the War of 1812, the British seized control of the island and forced the lighthouse keeper to put out the light. The current lighthouse was built in 1868, and in 2012, Fred Plumb bought the property and announced plans to restore it and make it publicly available.

Little Gull Island Lighthouse once helped direct ships at sea.
Little Gull Island Lighthouse once helped direct ships at sea.

Race Rock Lighthouse

An early version of the Race Rock Lighthouse was built in 1806 on Race Rock Reef. The original proved to be of little use in preventing shipwrecks, so it was torn down and replaced during the 1870s. While the current lighthouse is still in use, some people believe the building is haunted, and the lighthouse appeared on an episode of the popular television show “Ghost Hunters.”

North Dumpling Lighthouse

The North Dumpling Lighthouse was built in 1849 on Fisher’s Island Sound. During Prohibition, its isolated environment made it a popular spot for bootleggers who wanted to transfer illegal alcohol. In 1986, Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway and the portable dialysis machine, bought the lighthouse. He then retrofitted the building to run solely on wind and solar power.

Latimer Reed Lighthouse

The Latimer Reef Lighthouse, which was built in 1884, is one of the earlier cast-iron lighthouses in the East End area. In 2010, Scott Phillips bought it for a whopping $225,000 and began a financial services company called Latimer Light Capital in memoriam for the building.

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