According to a spokesperson for New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the United States Department of the Interior will designate the Montauk Point Lighthouse – New York State’s oldest lighthouse and one of the first seacoast lighthouses authorized by Congress —as a National Historic Landmark some time Monday afternoon.
Since last year, Senator Gillibrand has urged Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior Ken Salazar and the National Park System (NPS) Advisory Board Landmarks Committee to designate the site as a National Historic Landmark. The Lighthouse would be the twelfth place in Suffolk and Nassau counties to achieve landmark status.
“This is great news,” said Senator Gillibrand in a press release issued Monday morning. “The importance of this iconic lighthouse, which helped make New York Harbor the nation’s premier port, is indisputable. Montauk Point Lighthouse can finally take its rightful place as one of our National Historic Landmarks.”
Last November, Senator Gillibrand wrote in a letter to Ronald James, Chair of the NPS Advisory Board Landmarks Committee, “I strongly encourage you to recommend that the Montauk Point Lighthouse be designated as a National Historic Landmark to Secretary Salazar after the Advisory Board’s upcoming meeting… The Montauk Point Lighthouse has a rich history and continues to serve as a vital navigation feature to this day. In 1969, the lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and the time has come for this iconic structure to be designated as a National Historic Landmark.”
The designation was also strongly supported by Congressman Tim Bishop, a native of the East End.
With Montauk Point Lighthouse becoming an iconic part of Suffolk County’s landscape, Senator Gillibrand pointed out that the landmark status would have the potential to greatly enhance tourism and economic activity in the surrounding area. The National Historic Landmark designation would provide greatly needed resources to preserve this site, which played a pivotal role in America’s history, guiding ships from Europe to New York. Built in 1796, the Montauk Point Lighthouse promoted New York as the receiving port for British manufactured goods in America.