Archive for the ‘Architecture’ Category

The Little Red Lighthouse By The George Washington Bridge

August 6, 2015

composedOriginally built as the North Beacon in 1880 in Sandy Hook New Jersey, the light’s tower stood 55-feet tall. It served there until 1917 when it was placed into storage in Stapleton on Staten Island.

In 1921, the structure was relocated and reassembled on its present location at Jeffrey’s Hook in upper Manhattan by the U. S. Coast Guard. Only the top 40-feet of the structure was needed to help assist with navigation along the Hudson River.

Nicknamed the Little Red Lighthouse, it served as an essential water guide for the next decade until the lights on the George Washington Bridge, completed in 1931, eventually led to its decommission from service in 1947.

Immortalized in the 1942 children’s book, “The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge” by Hildegarde H. Swift, the lighthouse was saved from demolition in 1951 by public outcry. Readers remembered the book’s story of how the lighthouse came to the aid of the bridge with its light and bell during foggy weather.

The ownership of the lighthouse was transferred to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation on July 23, 1951 and has been a permanent fixture in Fort Washington Park ever since.

Every September there is a festival which honors the lighthouse for its service which includes hayrides, live music, nautical arts and crafts and celebrity readings of the book to listeners young and old. It is the last surviving lighthouse on Manhattan Island and was given landmark status on May 14, 1991.

For information on tours of the Little Red Lighthouse, call the Urban Park Rangers at (212) 304- 2365.