13. Princes Bay Lighthouse

Princes Bay LIghthouse

The Princes Bay Lighthouse was erected in 1828 in response to increased shipping traffic in New York City. The original structure consisted of a rubblestone tower which reached a height of just over thirty feet tall. It was replace in 1864 by a new brownstone tower and a two-story keeper’s house was completed next to it in 1868. The two structures are connected by a fifteen-foot-long passageway, which doubled as an oil room. Material from the original house was used to build a new barn and stable.

In 1926, the lighthouse was sold to the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin in a public auction. The mission was a residence and school for orphans which already occupied the land surrounding the lighthouse. One way the mission customized the lighthouse to their needs and taste was by adding a statue of the Virgin Mary to the top of the tower.

New York State and the Trust for Public Land bought the structure and surrounding land from the Archdiocese of New York in 1999 and it is now part of Mount Loretto Unique Area. The lighthouse has been renamed the John Cardinal O’Connor Lighthouse in honor of the Archbishop of New York who and it currently serves as the residence of the local forest ranger.