Thursday, November 01, 2007

Feds Ready to Give Away Lighthouses at Execution Rocks and Stepping Stones

A group based in Philadelphia that not only has never restored a lighthouse but has never restored anything has been given title by the feds to the Execution Rocks Lighthouse, which stands between New Rochelle and Sands Point (that's it above, in a photo taken by Jim Crowley). Here's Newsday:

Historically Significant Structures, a nonprofit corporation formed in 2003 to restore lighthouses, was the only local government or organization to request the deed for the beacon off Sands Point from the federal government by the deadline.

The government is giving away lighthouses the Coast Guard no longer wants to own, but the agency will continue to maintain the lighting equipment.

Restoring Execution Rocks would be the first project for Historically Significant Structures, said the group's treasurer and attorney Linell Lukesh, who previously ran a social service organization. Other board members include a real estate agent, restaurateur, engineer and other professionals with an interest in preservation and maritime issues.

"We saw there was a possibility to acquire one and preserve a landmark in our history," she said. The group would set up a Long Island office if the government gives it the lighthouse.

I guess everybody has to start somewhere.

The Town of North Hempstead, by the way, has applied to take ownership of Stepping Stones Light, which is a bit to the west of Execution Rocks.

At least these lighthouses have great names -- Execution Rocks because it's a dangerous area for boats (too many rocks), not because the British or the Americans executed soldiers there during the Revolutionary War; and Stepping Stones because there are so many rocks close together they're like stepping stones.

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Blogger Sam said...

Us Connecticut swamp rats didn't like those rocks down that direction, not in the least. Too much current and when foggy, dangerous as all get-out. Give me the eastern shoals and rocks near the Race and Plum Gut any day. We knew those dangers just fine.

But to be more humorous, the deal you described sounded rather funky, like "Psst, hey kid, want a bridge in Arizona? OK, how about a lighthouse called Execution Rocks?"

Many if not most of these lighthouses are (a) literally falling down and (b) maybe even haunted. I think the Southeast and North lighthouses on Block Island still lack maybe a million bucks. Any exterioir wood has to be replaced and the morar and grout in the stone had to be redone. Maintenance can be tens of thousands of dollars as well. Anything steel, iron, or cheap fails within several years.

Hope they know what they're getting into, including the ghosts. This is the subject of a bunch of hearsay, like you said about the British using it as a place to shackle American Colonialist terrorists (what a term!) at low tide so they drowned. But the lighthouse keepers and wives often when totally freaking nuts because of the boredom and isolation, punctuated by huge storms, ship crashes, and fires.

I wish the best with our urban renewal friends but it is a tall order. And watch the fog horn. that thing is the Devil himself!

7:21 PM  

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