Stony Point Lighthouse

Stony Point Lighthouse, Stony Point Battlefield State Historic Site, New York

Stony Point Lighthouse, Stony Point Battlefield State Historic Site, New York

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Stony Point Lighthouse

The Stony Point Light is the oldest lighthouse on the Hudson River. It was constructed in 1826 at historic Stony Point, site of the last major Revolutionary War battle in the north on July 15, 1779. The lighthouse marks the entrance to the Hudson Highlands. The completion of the Erie Canal the previous year, which linked New York City to America’s heartland, increased traffic on the Hudson River dramatically, and the need for navigational aids was paramount.

The thirty-foot-tall octagonal Stony Point Lighthouse, built of blue split stone, was constructed by Thomas Phillips of New York City, at a cost of $3,350. The tower has three stories and a basement, originally used to store whale oil.

Keeper Cornelius W. Lansing lit the light for the first time on December 1, 1826. In 1838, it was recorded that the light consisted of seven lamps with spherical reflectors arranged on two horizontal tables. The fixed-white light was projected over an arc of 270 degrees and was visible primarily from the south and east. In 1856, the lamps were replaced by a fifth-order Fresnel lens, which also beamed a fixed-white light. A more powerful fourth-order Fresnel lens was installed in 1902.

A wooden fog bell tower was added to the station in 1857. The fog bell was moved from the tower in 1876, and attached to the lighthouse. In 1890, another fog bell tower was built, this time near the water’s edge. A white light topped the new bell tower, but was later changed in 1902 to a red light to avoid confusion with the lighthouse beacon.

Keeper Millard Caylor turned off the light in 1925, when a steel tower built near the shoreline replaced the lighthouse. The steel tower was manually operated until 1973, and was the last manned light on the river.

Through the efforts of the Stony Point Battlefield State Historic Site, the Palisades Park Interstate Commission, and New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, restoration of the lighthouse began in 1986. The exterior was repaired and painted and the lantern was reglazed. On October 7, 1995, restoration was complete, and the light was activated for the first time in 70 years. The automatic light, operated by solar power, beams a flash of light once every four seconds.

Thanks to Lighthouse for the above information.


  1. Mark Neal

    Very nice composition, Mark. I like the flow of the rails. The shadow creates a very strong leading line. Great image!

  2. The perfect lead in with that extra shadow rail, Nark. My first thought was that someone really ought to re-paint that tower, but on thinking further I rather like the yellow staining – it adds a little more character

    • Many thanks, Andy. When I first processed this image I muted the yellow from the stain on the tower but this caused the image to lose something. As soon as I returned the yellow to its original tone the image looked so much better.

  3. Great leading lines, sweet shot my friend! The Shadow Rules!

  4. Very nice shot and great use of the railings to lead the eye.

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