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Lighthouses and the Mighty Hudson

From the moment of Hendrik Hudson's trip up the mighty river until today, the Hudson River is one of the most important commercial and recreational rivers in America. Hundreds of cargo ships ply its waters and thousands of pleasure craft skip along its waves. The majestic Hudson transports the goods of America from the inland ports out to the greatest deep water port in the country, New York Harbor.

In the early history of the continent, great sailing ships drove the economy of the Colonies as they transported goods from the frontiers of North America down the Hudson to England and beyond. As America became a nation, the mighty Hudson became the central battleground of the Revolution, with the pivotal battle of the Revolution being fought on its banks in Saratoga. With America growing and its economy booming, the connection between the Hudson River and the western inland territories was made with the Erie Canal and commercial shipping traffic exploded.

The steamship first paddled it's way up the Hudson River from New York City, marking the beginning of powered shipping in the world. Commodore Vanderbilt established river travel as a viable mode of urban transportation, right here on the Hudson. The D&H Canal, America's first million dollar venture, terminated on the Hudson at Kingston enabling an endless supply of Pennsylvaina coal to reach the manufacturing colussus of New York keeping the wheels of industry turning.

Even today in this age of instant air travel the Hudson serves as the primary commercial artery between the Port of New York and the regions upstate. Great barges and tankers filled with goods travel up and down the river keeping the Empire State moving and thriving. The traditions of industry first established in America on the banks of the Hudson continue to thrive feeding the Hudson with a continual flow of goods going to market.

All of this activity and industrial momentum would have ground to a halt except for the lonely sentinels of the Hudson River marking the way and warning shipping of the hazards and channels. The many lighthouses of the river have protected shipping insuring safe passage and delivery of both goods and people to their destinations.

Over the centuries, many lighthouses have come and gone, thru fire and flood, thru storm and accident, the lighthouses have stood their ground, sending their beacons to guide the ships and barks plying the waters of the Hudson.

Now, only eight of these sentinels remain on the river. No longer serving their original purpose as aids to navigation, they now mark the passage of the history of America past their lights and horns. They mark the people that dedicated their lives to maintaining their lights, and they mark the people who now dedicate themselves to the preservation of these important and significant structues.

Lighthouse Corner
A Quick Visitors Guide

Little Red Lighthouse - Located in Ft. Washington Park in northern Manahttan. It is a simple stroll down from Riverside Drive at 181st Street. Individual tours by chance. Group tours by appointment only.

1884 Lighthouse at Sleepy Hollow - Lighthouse is open to the public on scheduled Sundays in the months of May, June, July & August.

Stony Point Lighthouse - located at the Stony Point Battlefield National Historic Site in Rockland County. The lighthouse is a short and enjoyable walk out onto the point overlooing the Hudson. Access to the light on a daily schedule in season.

Esopus Meadows Lighthouse - not currently available for visits. However, an excellent view of the lighthouse can be had from the Esopus Meadows Envorinmental Center on the west bank of the river, and from the Mills Mansion & Norrie Point State Park on the east bank of the river.

Rondout Lighthouse - access is via a boat launch from the Hudson River Maritime Museum on a daily afternoon schedule in season.

Saugerties Lighthouse - may be visited at any time of the year via a short walk through the nature preserve. Lighthouse open daily in season, and by appointment at other times, or by booking a stay in the lighthouse.

Hudson-Athens Lighthouse - Acces is via boat from Athens and/or Hudson on scheduled tour dates in season. Private and group tours may be arranged.

For more details on visiting each of the lighthouses as well as to learn more about the historical significance, preservation efforts and current activities see each lighthouse's individual presentation.

The Coalition

Hudson River Lighthouse Coalition
c/o Hudson Mohawk Resource Conservation & Development Council, Inc.
1024 Route 66
Ghent, NY 12075
518-828-4385 x 105


Hudson River Lighthouse Coalition
c/o Lower Hudson-Long Island Resource Conservation & Development Council, Inc.
100 Executive Boulevard
Suite 205
Ossining, NY 10563

  •   Quilt image on this page Copyright The Country Quilter
  •   Photograph of Jeffreys Lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge at top of this page Copyright © Jim Crowley, all rights reserved.
  •   Unless otherwise noted, all text and graphics are the Copyrighted © material of either the individual lighthouses or Hudson Valley Network, Inc.. No duplication or other use may be made without the specific written consent of the copyright holder.
  •   All photographs unless otherwise credited are Copyrighted © 2000 by Hudson Valley Network, Inc., all rights reserved.
  •   Lighthouse statistics & official photos accompanying stats copyright US Coast Guard.

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Statue of Liberty Little Red Lighthouse Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse Stony Point Lighthouse
Esopus Meadows Lighthouse Rondout Lighthouse Saugerties Lighthouse Hudson-Athens Lighthouse
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This presentation on the Lighthouses of the Hudson River has been created in partnership with HV/Net. For more information on everything there is to see and do in this most magnificent of valleys, click on the image at left.