(Montauk Point Lighthouse Museum)
You may think that lighthouses are interesting to look at, and they are. But they also serve a very useful purpose.
Lighthouses guide ships sailing near a coast. They are built in different kinds of places: important locations on a coast, harbor entrances, islands, rocky ledges or reefs, and even in the water. They project strong beacons of light at night so ships can see them. Lighthouses help ships identify their locations, warn them of danger, and serve as a marker of nearby land.
The Montauk Point Lighthouse on Long Island, New York, is more than 200 years old. Built in 1796, it is the oldest lighthouse in the state. It has guided whaling ships, fishing boats, steamships, submarines, and sailboats for many years and continues to do so today. The tower is more than 110 feet tall, and a person has to climb 137 steps to get to the top. But the Montauk Point Lighthouse is not just a tower. Attached to it is a house in which the lighthouse keeper lived with his family and assistants. Since the light on top of the tower was automated in 1987, the lighthouse no longer needs a keeper.