Posted on August 21, 2023
A $44 million project to protect the Montauk Point Lighthouse and the deteriorating bluff surrounding the historic landmark in Suffolk County is now complete. The structure is located on the easternmost point of Long Island and was authorized in 1792 by the Second Congress under President George Washington and completed in November 1796.
Led by the Montauk Historical Society, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and H&L Contracting, the scope of work included reconstruction of approximately 1,000 linear feet of stone revetment, the removal and reuse of existing armor stones, and placement of new armor stones weighing 10-20 tons apiece. The project is designed to protect the historic Montauk Point lighthouse and surrounding area from future coastal storms and rising tides.
“Completion of this project is a major milestone on a number of levels due to the historic nature of the facility and its place in the community as well as American history,” said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District Commander Colonel Alexander Young. “The Montauk Point Lighthouse has played a key role in serving the maritime community for decades and the work done here by a very talented group of individuals from top to bottom will ensure it remains a symbol of American strength and ingenuity for years to come.”
The Montauk Point Lighthouse was designated a National Historic Landmark in March 2012 and is listed on the Federal and State Registers of Historic Places. Today, the structure is the oldest standing lighthouse in New York State.
Project costs were shared between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which supported the project with $15.4 million in funding. The project also received a $313,500 grant from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and a 125,000 Capital Grant from Empire State Development.
Additional private funds were secured by the Montauk Historical Society to support the restoration of the lighthouse tower, the 1860 keeper’s residence, and the newly refurbished Oceans Institute, a museum focused on educating the public on oceanic health. Among the new features is an interactive virtual aquarium populated with native aquatic life.
Total costs for this secondary focus of the project hovered around $2 million.
“This is seminal, multi-generational work and a wonderful example of a public-private partnership that worked to preserve Long Island’s historic and iconic structure,” said Montauk Historical Society president Joseph Gaviola. “As stewards of the oldest lighthouse in New York, a National Historic Landmark commissioned by George Washington, this is a dream come true.”
Moving forward, the Montauk Historical Society will maintain the site, which is frequented by thousands of local residents and tourists each year.