14. Robbins Reef Lighthouse

The Robbins Reef Lighthouse located on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, and viewable on the Staten Island Ferry, was originally built of granite in 1839. In 1883 the octagonal tower got an upgrade and was rebuilt in cast iron. It has six levels inside: the cellar, the first floor used as a kitchen, the second floor used as the sitting room and office, the third and fourth floors used as bedrooms, and the fifth floor which opens to a balcony overlooking the Harbor and the lantern gallery.

The lighthouse is sometimes affectionately called Kate’s Light, in reference to the tenacious female lighthouse keeper Katherine Walker who took over her husband’s light keeping duties 1890. With two young children to care and provide for, Kate dedicated herself to the lighthouse life, rowing her kids to school everyday, recording the weather, cleaning the lens, and fulfilling all of a keeper’s responsibilities. She is even credited with saving fifty people’s lives and the life of one dog! The lighthouse was decommissioned in 2009 and acquired by the Noble Maritime Collection. The collection is working to restore the lighthouse and turn it into a museum.