A winter wind storm this past March 3rd caused some severe structural damage to the tower of the 1858 Fire Island Lighthouse in West Islip, New York.
Among other things, the storm caused a 10-foot by 35-foot section of the shotcrete coating to become dislodged from the tower, exposing the structure’s original bricks, many of which crumbled to the ground. For safety purposes, the tower was immediately closed to the public.
This is not the first time in recent years that the tower has been closed for public climbing. In June 2019, the tower was temporarily closed while experts performed tests on the integrity of the structure to determine the cause of the deterioration of the outer face of the tower, and to evaluate the condition of how humidity and moisture were affecting the covered brickwork.
Officials stated that this type of damage was probably expected to happen at some point, and they had been closely monitoring the situation for months.
The 168-foot-tall Fire Island Lighthouse tower, built in 1858, has undergone several restorations over the years, most recently in 2013. Although the tower is closed indefinitely, the lens building, museum, and gift shop at the lighthouse remain open. An interesting tidbit about the lighthouse is that it appeared in the opening scenes, from 1970 to 1975, in the long running television soap opera “The Guiding Light.”
This story appeared in the
May/Jun 2023 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
All contents copyright © 1995-2023 by Lighthouse Digest®, Inc. No story, photograph, or any other item on this website may be reprinted or reproduced without the express permission of Lighthouse Digest. For contact information, click here.