Governor Kathy Hochul, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New York District, Montauk Historical Society, and other partners have announced the reopening of the newly restored Montauk Point Lighthouse and completion of a major coastal resiliency project to protect the historic lighthouse and associated cultural resources.
The landmark, located on the easternmost point of Long Island in Suffolk County, NY, underwent an extensive multi-year renovation and will be significantly protected from waves and coastal storms due to a new stone revetment that will prevent erosion and degradation of the site.
The Montauk Point Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in New York State, authorized in 1792 by the Second Congress under President George Washington. Construction was completed in November 1796, and it was designated a National Historic Landmark on March 5, 2012. The lighthouse is on the Federal and State Registers of Historic Places.
The lighthouse was constructed approximately 300 feet from the original edge of the bluff, which became increasingly less stable over the years, leaving it extremely vulnerable to coastal storm erosion and significant damage.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) coastal storm damage risk management project included the reconstruction of approximately 1,000 linear feet of stone revetment, including removal and reuse of existing armor stones, and delivery and placement of new armor stones weighing anywhere between 10-20 tons apiece.
The project is designed to protect the historic Montauk Point lighthouse, complex, bluff area and associated cultural resources by stabilizing the site and protecting it from future coastal storms.
The cost of the overall effort to restore and protect the historical landmark was approximately $44 million, which included the award of a construction contract to H&L Contracting of Bayshore in 2021.
The project was cost shared between USACE and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). DEC allocated $15.4 million in NY Works funding as the project’s non-federal sponsor. The local sponsor, the Montauk Historical Society, will maintain the site for continued use as a tourism attraction and educational center.
In addition to the completion of the shoreline stabilization work, the Montauk Historical Society completed $2 million in renovations to the historic lighthouse and keeper’s residence. The lighthouse restoration work was undertaken concurrent with the revetment work and supported by more than $435,000 in New York State funding.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) awarded a $313,500 historic preservation grant and Empire State Development awarded a $125,000 Capital Grant, recommended by the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council in support of the Montauk Point Lighthouse as a premier historical, cultural, and recreational destination.
The funding, from the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) through the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC), addressed damage to the lighthouse tower’s stone façade and secured the long-term structural integrity of the historic structure.
Additional private funds were secured by the Montauk Historical Society to help support the restoration of the 1796 lighthouse tower, 1860 keeper’s residence, and the newly refurbished Oceans Institute, a museum focusing on the health of the ocean. Among the new features is an interactive virtual aquarium that is filled with local sea creatures, from scallops to whales.
Illustrations, from above: Montauk Point Lighthouse (courtesy wikipedia user