The Cedar Island Lighthouse has protected mariners entering Sag Harbor since 1839 when Sag Harbor was the home port to 29 whaling ships and 20 ships used for fishing and transportation. The original lighthouse was replaced with the current structure in 1868. By that time, Sag Harbor was one of the most important ports on the East Coast of the United States. Whaling ships and other vessels sought her guidance while sailing from Sag Harbor to every ocean on the globe and again on their return.
Since the Cedar Island Lighthouse was decommissioned in 1934, it has passed through private hands until it became part of Suffolk County’s Cedar Point Park in the late 1960’s.
The light was originally built on a three-acre island. The hurricane of 1938 created a sandbar connecting Cedar Island to the mainland of East Hampton which is now known as Cedar Point.
Vandalism and weather have taken their toll on the Cedar Island Lighthouse. Its construction of granite from New England has withstood the test of time, but in 1974 a fire gutted the interior of the Lighthouse. At that time the building was sealed up and it continues to be to this day.
This lonely and historic architectural treasure has been waiting for attention over many decades. In the early 2000’s the Long Island Chapter of the United States Lighthouse Society raised the funds to restore the Cedar Island Oil House, the small structure next to the Lighthouse where oil to light the original beacon was stored.
Now the Long Island chapter of the United States Lighthouse Society has been authorized by Suffolk County Parks to restore and “Relight the Lighthouse”.
Lighthouses are an important part of the history and tradition of Long Island; protecting its shoreline, mariners and sailing ships.
For over a century, from 1798 to 1912, twenty-two lighthouses were constructed from Hell Gate to Montauk Point, from Coney Island to Fisher’s Island.
Twenty of those remain today and most have been restored and some are in private hands.
The Cedar Island Lighthouse is one of the few remaining lighthouses waiting to be saved for our heritage and history.