Execution Rocks Lighthouse


On a rocky reef one mile north of Sands Point.

Description: 55 feet; flashing white light every 10 seconds; granite construction; tower, painted white with a brown band, is attached to the keeper's quarters.

History of light:

  • 1847, March 3: Congress appropriates $25,000 for a light on Execution Rocks.

  • 1849, May: Construction completed.

  • 1850: First lit.

  • 1856: Fourth Order Fresnel lens installed.

  • 1868: Keeper's quarters constructed.

  • Late 1873 or very early 1874 : Mrs. Mary Lucy Sherman, whose husband was the light's Keeper, was appointed Assistant Keeper with an annual salary of $400. She took the place of Richard Lyons, who had been promoted.

  • 1918, December 8: A fire at the station caused $13,500 worth of damage. The engine house and machinery therein were destroyed, the oil house's brickwork was damaged and its roof destroyed, and "the stonework of the north and east sides of the tower badly chipped." Windows, woodwork, gutters and eaves were also damaged in the blaze, the cause of which was unknown.

  • 1920, February 4: The steamer Maine (constructed in 1892) wrecked on the rocks due to snow, ice,  high winds, and a full moon tide. The ship crashed stern first and nearly hit the lighthouse. All survived, including the 14 horses aboard, but were not rescued from the rocks until three days later. In that time, drinking water at the station ran out and snow had to be melted for the people and horses to drink.

  • 1979, December 5: Automated.

Current use: Active aid to navigation.

The surrounding area: In the middle of the Long Island Sound, north of Sands Point.

Public access? No.

Similar Lights: I know of no lights with a similar design.

Other information: The name of this reef is reported to be due to a British practice during the Revolutionary War of killing prisoners on the reef by chaining them to the rocks and allowing the high tide to drown them (no one knows how true that may be). Prior to 1850, there had been lights on this reef, but none were official or reliable. The original structure was designed by architect Alexander Parris. This light is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Execution Rocks Lighthouse
photo courtesy of Jim Crowley;  see more of Jim's work at www.lighthousemuseum.org)
























Research materials for this lighthouse can be found at the East Islip Public Library, East Islip, New York.

Back to NewYorkLighthouses.com

All the text, code and photographs on this site, unless otherwise noted,  are Copyright © 1998 -2006 Robert G. Müller.
Please don't copy or print any text, code or photographs from this site without my written permission.

Thanks for understanding, and respecting my work. :-)