Port Jefferson Harbor Breakwater Lights (minor aids)


Location: On the breakwaters at the entrance to Port Jefferson Harbor.

Description: Two minor aids to navigation, one each on the east and west breakwaters at the entrance to Port Jefferson Harbor.

History of lights:

  • 1838: A report on aids to navigation in the US, known popularly as Document No. 24, mentioned "a buoy on the extremity of the bare spit, at the mouth of the harbor of Drowned Meadows" (as Port Jeff was called in those days) and added a note that "[t]his harbor could, at a small expense, be made one of the very best on Long-island sound. It is at a point where a good harbor is much needed." Despite this notice of the area's importance, the buoy and Old Field light, two miles away, were the only aids to help mariners in and out of the harbor.

  • 1894: Congress approved funds for a pair of lights at the entrance to the harbor - one on the east breakwater and a smaller one on the west breakwater.

  • 1896: The lights were constructed.

  • 1905: The East Breakwater light was rebuilt, perhaps due to storm damage, but it could have been from other causes.

  • 1908: The Light List describes the lights as such: Port Jefferson East Breakwater: Fixed white light shown from a lens lantern 28 feet above mean high water. It was a "white post with shelf for lantern, adjacent to white, square, fog bell house, on rough stone foundation." The fog signal was a "bell struck by machinery a double blow every 30 sec." Port Jefferson West Breakwater: Fixed red light shown from a post lantern 30 feet above mean high water. It was a "pyramidal concrete pier supporting a red post with bracket at top, from which lantern is suspended."

  • 1919, September 7: According to the Lighthouse Service Bulletin, "H. Burke, keeper, Port Jefferson Light Station, N.Y., rescued a man and woman from drowning when their canoe capsized in endeavoring to reach the inside of the harbor in the vicinity of the light station."

  • 1950: The US Coast Pilot describes the lights as such: "Port Jefferson East Breakwater Light, 60 feet above water, is shown from a black square skeleton tower, white central column, white tank house, white watch house alongside, on the east breakwater. The fog signal is a bell. Port Jefferson West Breakwater Light, 29 feet above water, is shown from a red skeleton tower, white tank house, red base, on the end of the west breakwater."

  • 2002: Two small skeleton towers help mariners in the area.

Current use: Active aids to navigation.

Public access? Can be seen from ferry, private boat or from land.

Similar Lights: There are many small, skeletal towers.

Other information: These lights appear to have been rebuilt several times over the years.
















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