Sunday, May 27, 2012
The Hudson River played a strategic military role in the American history: during the Revolutionary War important battles were fought on its banks. After the invention of the steamboat in 1807, the river witnessed an explosion in commercial shipping traffic and passenger transportation and became a vital artery in the development of New York State. Saugerties was a major port with daily commercial and passenger transportation and in 1869, a lighthouse was built on a circular pier offshore in the river (42°4′19.53″N 73°55′46.72″W).The 46 ft (14m) square tower attached to Italianate 2-story red-brick dwelling received a sixth-order Fresnel lens. When electricity was extended to the lighthouse in the 1940s, the house was “modernized” with steam heat, plumbing and a phone. In 1954, the Guard automated the light and the building was closed up. The unoccupied building deteriorated rapidly and the Coast Guard planned to demolish the building. A campaign mounted by local residents halted the demolition. In 1979, the lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The lighthouse is currently managed by the non-profit Saugerties Lighthouse Conservancy which purchased the lighthouse in 1986 and has restored it. The Coast Guard installed a Fresnel lens with solar-powered light and the tower was reactivated on August 4, 1990. The lighthouse is in use as a bed and breakfast inn, but it is also open to visitors and offers a small museum and a gift shop.