3. Execution Rocks Light Station

Execution Rocks Light Station

The Execution Rocks Light Station is a lighthouse in the Long Island Sound between Sands Point and New Rochelle. The 55-foot-tall lighthouse features a granite tower painted white with a brown band in the middle. The small island it stands on also hosts an uninhabited stone keeper’s house. You can easily see the lighthouse from Sands Point and the Throgs Neck Bridge or by boat out on the sound. Historically Significant Structures, Inc., the non-profit dedicated to the lighthouse’s restoration, led tours of the lighthouse and will hosted overnight stays on the island before Covid-19.

The lighthouse today is a well-known spot located on the National Register of Historic Places, though its dark history is shrouded in legend. It has been believed that slaveowners on Sands Point would chain troublesome slaves to rocks on the island during low tide and let them drown, or that British soldiers did the same to American revolutionaries, thus giving it the name “Execution Rocks.” There is no substantial evidence to back up these claims. The name likely comes from the treacherous rocks that “execute” passing ships that get too close. The lighthouse was completed in 1849 after Congress approved its creation. The island’s unfortunate history continued when it endured both a fire and a shipwreck years after. Additionally, serial killer Carl Panzram claimed to have raped and killed ten sailors before dumping their bodies by the lighthouse.