LLOYD NECK LIGHTHOUSE
Northeast storms, churning from the sound from Mystic to Oyster Bay can be wicked, as any mariner knows. At the widest reach, southwest from New Haven, a 45–knot Northeasterly wind can create a real sea. At night, before 1857, ships had no choice but to run in the dark for shelter in land-locked Lloyd Harbor. Sometimes they came to grief along the spur that juts out southward from the tip of Lloyd Neck. For this reason, in 1847, the government bought five acres of sand on a peninsula from Jonah Denton (1812-1892), whose family had owned the property on the Neck for several generations, after having purchased it originally from Daniel Whitehead of Oyster Bay. In 1857, the original area lighthouse was built on the tip of Lloyd Neck at the end of East Beach to be visible to any craft that cleared Eatons Neck. It marked the entrance to Lloyd Harbor and in moderate weather, served vessels making their way at night through “the Gut” into Huntington Harbor. The Lloyd Neck Lighthouse consisted of a 2-story white wood frame house with 11 rooms attached to a brick lighthouse tower with a 5th order Fresnel lens and an “Argand” lamp. The Argand lamp used a round (tubular) wick whereas standard kerosene lamps have a flat wick. The Argand lamp was both brighter and cleaner burning than a standard kerosene lamp. The wick had to be trimmed daily to keep the lamp burning at maximum brightness. The lamp burned “oil” or kerosene at the rate of 3 to 4 ounces per hour. This first lighthouse was of little help to ships entering the adjoining Huntington Harbor. In 1912, a new lighthouse was built to serve both Huntington and Lloyd Harbors Although the Lloyd Neck Light was not used as a lighthouse after 1912, it served as the keeper’s residence until 1925. On November 12,1947, the wooden structure of the original light was destroyed by fire. A news article in the Nov.13th Long Islander newspaper states: “It was believed that hunters had occupied the building Tuesday night and through their carelessness in having a fire inside one of the old fireplaces, they caused the blaze that destroyed the lighthouse”.
The ruins of Lloyd Neck light can still be seen today by looking directly west towards East Beach of Lloyd Neck from the present lighthouse.
The last two official keepers of the Lloyd Neck lighthouse were Robert McGlone and Caretaker Augusta “Gussie” Harrigan. The five acres of lighthouse property became known as the “eminent domain” of McGlone, his wife and five children. With infinite labor, McGlone brought topsoil from Lloyd Neck to make a garden plot that had been cleared of native growth. Then, in 1900, tragedy darkened the happy home when Mrs. McGlone and her sixth child died in childbirth. The later celebrated Augusta “Gussie” Harrigan, a local 31 year old spinster, came to the lighthouse to take care of the five motherless McGlone children. When the government erected a new lighthouse at the entrance to Huntington harbor in 1912, Robert McGlone was made its first keeper. “Gussie” and the children remained at the old lighthouse. Ms. Harrigan eventually became the caretaker /resident keeper of the light at the old Lloyd Neck lighthouse until she officially retired on October 1,1925 at the age of 56 years. Shortly after her departure, vandals went to work destroying this guardian of the night.
HUNTINGTON HARBOR LIGHTHOUSE
On March 7, 1907, Congress appropriated $40,000 for construction of a new lighthouse on a reef extending north from West Neck at the entrance to both Lloyd Harbor and Huntington Harbor. The new structure completed in 1912 was a unique lighthouse, in both design and construction. The Venetian Renaissance (Beaux Art) style makes the light look like a small castle. The reinforced concrete foundation and structure are unique to the area as well. The crib or foundation for the light was built nearby on land and then floated to the present site and sunk, by filling it with water, to the hard-sand bottom of the reef that had been leveled and cleared of rocks. The interior spaces of the crib (foundation) were then filled with concrete, which resulted in an extremely heavy, stable footing for the new light. The site also included a band of riprap (a wall of large stones thrown together without order), which surrounded the foundation to protect the lighthouse.
An octagonal lantern gallery is atop the two-story tower. The original lantern was a fifth order Fresnel lens. Screwed to the floor of the gallery is a large fog signal bell embossed with the date and city of origin: Jersey City, N.J. 1911. The bell weighs 1000 pounds and was added to the light in 1912. It had to be rewound every three and one-half hours. Rising through the center of the tower is an iron column to which is attached a circular cast iron stairway leading to the gallery above. The keeper’s dwelling on the main floor had a kitchen, sitting room and bedroom. The cellar had an oil room, coal room and a 2000-gallon water cistern. Keepers drew the water up from the cistern by using a hand pump in the kitchen. Huntington Harbor Lighthouse is essentially the same structure today, inside and out, that was built in 1911. When the Huntington Harbor lighthouse was built it did not have any modern conveniences; no electricity, running water and no indoor plumbing. This lighthouse housed members of the Lighthouse Service, and then the US Coast Guard, for 55 years. In 1939, after the US Lighthouse Service was dissolved, the operation taken over by the US Coast Guard. After the Coast Guard automated the light in 1949, and a keeper was no longer needed at the structure, the handsome and unique lighthouse gradually slipped into disrepair. By 1985, the deterioration of the Huntington Harbor Lighthouse had become so great that the Coast Guard was ready to destroy it and erect a steel tower on the ruins. They would have done that, if it had not been for the cries of protest from the boaters, shipping interests and local inhabitants. The Coast Guard relented when a group of concern citizens led by Janis Harrington, with the help of her father-in-law, Dr. Douglas Harrington, organized the non-profit group, Save Huntington’s Lighthouse Inc. whose stated goal was to save and restore the lighthouse. In 1988, the Huntington Lighthouse was added to the National Register for Historic Building, Reference No. 890000501. The Huntington Harbor Lighthouse is currently owned by the Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society (formerly Save Huntington Lighthouse Inc.) and is an active aid to navigation with the light, as the main signaling device along with the foghorn, being maintained by the US Coast Guard. The tower height is 48 feet tall with the focal plane of the light at 42 feet above mean high water. At the present time, a modern LED pancake shape light, powered by solar panels erected on the watch deck, serves as the Huntington Harbor Lighthouse’s active signaling device.
INDEX OF LLOYD NECK / HUNTINGTON HARBOR LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS
1 Abiatha Johnson August 1857 - May 1861
2 Alanson Pearsall May 17, 1861 - September 2, 1861
3 A. Johnson (Probably Abiatha?) September 1861 - May 1869?
4 Lester S. Darling May 4, 1869 - April 13, 1874
5 George R. Johnson April 22, 1884 - November 1878
6 Neal Ward Nov. 1878 - October 1885
7 Robert McGlone November 1885 - June 15, 1912 at Lloyd Neck Lighthouse and then June 16, 1912, Jan. 31, 1919 at the new Huntington Harbor Lighthouse
8 John Grimes February 1, 1919 - March 31, 1919
9 Marvin Burnham March 31, 1919 - September 30, 1926
10 James Galler October 1, 1926 - March 16, 1928
11 Andrew Zuius March 17, 1928 - March 14, 1929
12 Emil J. Brunner March 15, 1929 - June 29, 1930
13 Joseph Dubois June 30, 1930 - July 1, 1933
14 Robert Howard July 2, 1933 - October 31, 1935
15 Arthur Bouder Nov. 1, 1935 - March 31, 1938
16 Richard J. White April 1, 1938 - December 31, 1942
17 Bernard A. Bentley December 31, 1942 - March 23, 1943
18 Richard J. White March 24, 1943 - May 19, 1948
19 Arnold (Arnie) Leiter, USCG August 27, 1948 - November 22, 1948
Last keeper of the Lighthouse
NOTE Keeper # 1 Depending on whose hand-writing you are reading, his first has been spelled: Abatha, Abathar, Abiatha, or Abiathar. On his gravestone it is listed as Abiatha
Unknown Keepers at Lloyd Harbor Lighthouse
John S. Wood - June 1857 Nominated but never served
George Rusone - (Possible Asst. Keeper?) Oct / Nov. 1885?
William Janse - (Possible Asst. Keeper?) (7-23-1909) asking to transfer
Substitute Keepers – these are Keepers that came to man the light station while the actual Keeper went on vacation. Usually signified in the Keepers Log by a sudden change of handwriting.
1915 Nov.11 – 24 un-named
1930 December Robert Sammis
1931 December John Morrisse
1933 Oct. 7 - 12 Kingston H. Ross
1934 & 35 (summers) Louis (Louie) Anderson
1937 Various dates Tony Ackles
1938 March 13 - 31 Mr. Snitka
In 1939 the US Coast Guard took over the Lighthouse Service. At that point the current staff had the opportunity to become part of the USCG or remain on in some cases as civilians working for the military. The following names of Keepers that manned the station until its automation.
1945 George L Jilke (Cox)
John Merry (MO)
Stewart H. Carter (BM 1/C)
Mr. Anderson (?)
David Joseph (CM/ 3C)
These men were all temporary substitute keepers serving from one week to one month from January 1945 to April 1945
Between April 1945 – early 1948 there are too many Keepers to list.
1948 Sven Eshenbaum, Peter Rossano, Richard Simpson, Frank Souza, Joseph Thomas and Thomas Torrence - all served 1 or 2 weeks from May 20, 1948 to November 22, 1948
Should anyone reading this have any pictures or information on other Keepers or these Keepers, please contact Steve Eckers at [email protected]