Lighthouse is rich in local lore and history,
and unique to Hudson River Lighthouses it is the only
lighthouse directly accessible from land. Take a leisurely
stroll through the Nature Preserve skirting the tidal
pools, stands of trees and expanses of reeds and arrive
in the middle of the majestic Hudson River.
But that only mentiones the obvious.
In 1838 the first lighthouse located
at the mouth of the Esopus Creek at Saugerties was erected.
Originally, the lighthouse stood on a small island in
the Hudson to guide shipping away from the shallows
or into the bustling commercial and passenger port of
Early in the 19th century the Village
of Saugerties consisted of less than 20 homes. In the
1820's Henry Barclay partnered with Robert L Livingston
and developed a planned community surrounding a series
of water powered industries on the Esopus, eventually
becoming the largest concentration of water powered
businesses in the world. Navigation into and out of
the Esopus became a critical navigation issue leading
to the building of the original light.
In the mid 19th century it
became necessary to improve access to the Esopus because
industry was growing so dramatically with cooperages,
iron works, paper, calico, brick making and ice harvesting.
A jetty was constructed extending out to the lighthouse
and the Esopus was dredged, with the spoils being deposited
along the jetty.
In 1869 the present lighthouse was
erected sitting on a massive circular stone base sixty
feet in diameter. A sixth-order Fresnel lens was used
with kerosene lamps as the beacon signaling the entrance
to the Esopus to shipping. The foundation for the original
lighthouse remains as a small island adjacent to the
The Saugerrties Lighthouse continued
as a beacon in the Hudson serving shipping until, in
1954, the Coast Guard automated the light making the
brick structure and the light keeper obsolete. The building
was closed and over the next 20 years quickly fell into
near total disrepair. Like most of the antique lighthouses
on the Hudson, the Saugerties Lighthouse became a white
elephant; abandoned, neglected and slowly crumbling
on its stone base at the tip if its arrtificial peninsula.
The next chapter in the life
of the Lighthouse began in the mid-70's as Ruth Reynolds
Glunt and architect Elise Barry began the long task
of having the Lighthouse declared an important historic
structure. Finally in 1978 they succeeded in getting
the Lighthouse listed on the National Register of Historic
Structures sparking a drive by local citizens to bring
the old structure back to life.
The Saugerties Lighthouse Conservancy
was formed in 1985 with the purpose of acquiring the
lighthouse and restoring it to its former glory.. The
Coast Guard, the original owners of the lighthouse,
gave up jurisdiction and the property reverted back
to New York State. The Conservancy then bought the deteriorated
remains of the lighthouse for one dollar. Efforts to
stabilize the building began shortly thereafter. Plans
for the reconstruction were completed by Alex Wade and
a barge to haul construction materials was built. An
elaborate scaffolding and shoring system was created
to hold up the sagging tower, floors and roof so that
new brick walls could be constructed. More than 10,000
new bricks were required to replace bricks that had
crumbled. Tons of masonry materials were manually loaded
onto the barge and transported to the lighthouse. The
entire masonry structure, including the massive stone
base, has been reconstructed.
The lantern that houses the
light was removed from the building and completely restored
to its original condition. The Coast Guard has installed
a fourth order solar powered light. After 36 years without
a light in the lighthouse tower, it was finally restored
to operation on August 4, 1990. A replica picket fence
surrounds the lighthouse. On it are the names of the
many keepers who lived and worked here and hundreds
of donors who contributed towards the restoration.
Local craftsman completed the building
with woodwork, plastering, and painting. The work to
maintain the lighthouse continues with the help of volunteers
On weekends and holidays between
Memorial Day and Columbus Day guided tours of the lighthouse
are available between the hours of 2pm and 5pm. A suggested
donation of $3.00 for adults and $1.00 for children
is gratefully accepted. To visit the interior of the
lighthouse at other times you must either be fortunate
enough to find the keeper in residence, or you can call
ahead and schedule a visit.
The lighthouse is furnished somewhat
like it might have been around 1910. A small museum
on the second floor of the lighthouse and a videotape
give more details regarding the history and dramatic
restoration of the lighthouse.
From it's past glory to it's near
collapse to the amazing dedication of the people who
rebuilt it, the Lighthouse now stands solid as a testimony
to the triumph of love and teamwork.
The lighthouse operates as a Bed &
Breakfast all year.
That's absolutely correct! Two of
the rooms upstairs in the Lighthouse have been restored
into bedrooms to accommodate overrnight guests in this
most unusual setting for a B&B in the Hudson Valley.
Accommodations are simple yet comfortable and elegant
with a parlor and kitchen for the enjoyment of guests.
Electricity is limited so small appliances such as hair-blowers
And there's no TV, so bring a good
book, good friends and a sense of adventure. Sit outside
the lighthouse or climb the tower and watch the ships
and boats cruise the Hudson. Bring your binoculars and
telescopes and gaze at the stars. Absorb some sunshine
sitting in the deck chairs surrounding the lighthouse
and rest and relax.
back through the Nature Preserve to your car and explore
the many antiques shops of Saugerties, wander through
neaby Historic Kingston and the Rondout. Visit nearby
New Paltz to visit the oldest street in America with
its original houses and walk the trails or climb the
Shawangunk cliffs of Minnewaska State Park or The Mohonk
Preserve. Or head west into the glorious Catskill High
Peaks Region and tube down the Esopus Creek, take your
tackle and fly fish where it all started or hike the
trails of the Catskills State Park. Cross the Hudson
and visit the Great Estates of the Hudson Valley where
you can tour the homes of FDR, the Vanderbilts and other
houses of the rich and famous that settled in the Valley.
Then come back to the quiet and calm
in the middle of the Hudson River for your night at
the Saugerties Lighthouse. You won't soon forget this
unique place or your stay amidst the lapping waters
of the Hudson.
Accommodations are very limited,
so advance reservations are required. Call ahead to
the Lighthouse Keeper at (914)247-0656 to inquire about
availability. Pack light for your stay as the curb is
a half mile back down the path through the Nature Preserve.
And make sure to check with the Lighthouse Keeper on
the tide schedule as at high tide parts of the trail
can be underwater!
Saugerties Lighthouse Conservancy
PO Box 654
Saugerties, NY 12477