The Town of Southampton is set to seal a piece of Hampton Bays History on Saturday by placing a historic marker at the site of the former Shinnecock Bay Lighthouse, which stood for nearly 90 years, from 1858 to 1948.
The town is inviting the public to be a part of the ceremony, which will take place at 11 a.m. at the and be led by members of the Town Board, the town’s historic Landmarks and Historic Districts Board, and the . Also during the event, members of the Shinnecock Coast Guard station will be on hand to meet and great the public and talk about water safety as part of their annual open house event.
The placement of the $1,200 marker, which was approved in May, according to town officials, is part of the town's mission to "preserve the memory of local heritage."
The marker will also honor the 30 men and who lost their lives when their ship ran aground in 1859 — their captain unaware that the new lighthouse was built and mistook it for the Montauk Lighthouse.
As many recall, the brick Shinnecock Lightouse, at 168 feet, was once one of the tallest on the East Coast and its flashing light, an improvement installed in 1914, was visible for over 18 nautical miles.
Then, on Aug. 1, 1931, the lighthouse was replaced by a soulless skeleton tower at Ponquogue Point.
The lighthouse received a 17-year stay of execution, but on Dec. 23, 1948, it was burned to the ground.
One former Hampton Bays resident, Linda M. Stevens, said the lighthouse was just one of the many fond memories of her youth and had never realized as a child how much history it held.
And another resident, William Jay Nelson, said he grew up knowing that his great-great grandfather, Ellsworth A. Howland (1861-1952), a life time resident of Good Ground and retired U.S. Coast Guard member, lit the fire that bured the lighthouse down.
For more on the history of the Shinnecock Lighhouse, click here.