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The Stony Point Lighthouse was built in 1826 to guide the increased shipping on the Hudson River following the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825. The existing 30 foot fieldstone tower was the first of 14 lighthouses to be built on the Hudson River. The opening of the Erie Canal is said to have opened the interior of the United States to expansion and development beyond the 13 original states. If so, then the Stony Point Lighthouse can be credited with having a significant supporting role in the growth of the country. The white tower with a black "bird cage" lantern room originally displayed a fixed white light from 7 Argand lamps and parabolic reflectors positioned on two tiers. In 1856 a 5th order Fresnel replaced the 7 lamps reducing the oil usage and improving the quality of the light. In 1857 a fog bell and tower were installed nearby the light tower. By 1876 the fog bell tower had deteriorated to the point that the fog bell was relocated to the lighthouse. The fog bell moved again in 1890, this time to a new bell tower near the waters edge that also displayed a white light on its roof. This fog signal would sound every 15 seconds when needed. 1902 brought more changes to the light station, a new 4th order Fresnel lens for the light tower on the cliff and a change from white to red for the light atop the bell tower at waters edge. The lighthouses' characteristic was also changed from fixed white to flashing white every 4 seconds. 1925 brought about the decommissioning of the 1826 light house which was replaced by a skeleton tower near the waters edge. This new aid was manually operated by the US Lighthouse Service and then the US Coast Guard until automated in 1973. The lighthouse's exterior was refurbished in 1986 as part of New York State Stony Point Battlefield Historical Site, commemorating the site of the 1779 Revolutionary War battle.
Sporting a newly refurbished interior and a period 4th order Fresnel lens on loan from the US Coast Guard, the Stony Point lighthouse was re-lit on October 7, 1995 as a historic exhibit and is now open to the public. The official aid to navigation remains at the waters edge on the skeleton tower. The Stony Point Battlefield and Lighthouse Historic Site is open 5 days a week from April 15th to October 31st (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays). The most recent history for this historical site is the expansion of the American Bald Eagle's nesting range back into the lower Hudson Valley. In 2008 a pair of Bald Eagles set up housekeeping near the 1826 lighthouse and the area was closed to the public to prevent disturbing the nest. The Bald Eagles did not return to the nesting site in 2009 so the lighthouse grounds are again open during park hours.
January 2003 Issue, Stony Point Thanksgiving Day Tour By Shirin Pagels. "For those willing to face the cold and bitter winds, the Stony Point Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse on the Hudson River, was open for touring on Thanksgiving morning." Please go to the Lighthouse Digest Magazine Archives for the full article. Lighthouse Digest magazine not only keeps the history of our lighthouses alive both in print and on line, but it is the best single source to keep current on all aspects of lighthouse preservation, news and events
The Stony Point Lighthouse is located in the Stony Point Battlefield State Historic Site overlooking the Hudson River.
Directions: Take the Palisades Interstate Parkway to Exit 15, and follow the signs to Rt. 106/210 (east) to Route 9W (north). Go one mile north on Rt. 9W. Turn right on Park Road and stay to your left at the bottom of the hill. The site entrance is straight ahead.
Please visit the Stony Point Battlefield State Historic Site web page for information on visiting the Stony Point Lighthouse.
Please visit the Stony Point Battlefield & Lighthouse web site for photo tours of both the 1826 lighthouse and the 1779 battlefield.
For more photographs and history of the Stony Point Lighthouse, you can visit the: