Right in the heart of Staten Island, just minutes away from the Staten Island Mall, lies Lighthouse Hill, a quaint neighborhood full of greenery and large, open houses. Lighthouse Hill lies right between a large array of parks and is only minutes away from both the mall and historic Richmond Town, giving residents a way to experience any range of environments. The hill's name comes from Staten Island Range Lighthouse, also called the Ambrose Channel Range Light, or affectionately called the Staten Island Light. The lighthouse is the rear range lighthouse companion to the West Bank Lighthouse.
About the lighthouse
A 90-foot tower built in 1912, it sits about 5 miles northwest of its companion, 141 feet above sea level on Lighthouse Hill (also called Richmond Hill). It shows a white light visible for 18 miles (21 nautical miles) in any direction. In 1968, it was designated as a NYC Landmark and still serves its' function to aid ships entering the Ambrose Channel. In 2005, the National Register of Historic Places listed it as a historic place.
The Lighthouse's History
In 1906, congress authorized the establishment of both the Staten Island Lighthouse and the West Bank Lighthouse, and allowed a budget of $100,000. $50,000 was given to the project that month and by 1908, West Bank lighthouse was built, using only $20,000 of the budget. Staten Island Light was started in 1909 and most of it was completed by July 1910, missing only its lantern and staircase.
All work was completed on lighthouses and the keeper's house in 1915, and came out to a total cost of $75,000.
When the Staten Island Lighthouse went into operation in 1912, the New York Times wrote that it was “destined to take its place among famous beacons of the world, such as Eddystone Lighthouse, on the Eddystone Rocks, about fourteen miles from Plymouth, England.”
The Lighthouse Service provided an original description for the lighthouse, describing it as "an octagonal brick tower, with rusticated stone base and stone trimmings resting upon a concrete foundation extending 7 feet below grade line, and surmounted with a brick watch room and a first-order, vertical-bar, cast-iron lantern, whose focal plane is 86 feet above grade line."
The light itself is a second-order range lens of one panel, and gives off a strong, fixed, white light. It is powered by a 55 millimeter oil vapor lamp rated at 300,000 candela, and is visible 21 nautical miles in clear weather. Mineral oil for the lamp is stored in tanks in a separate vault at the base of the tower and is raised by a pump.
In 1968, it was designated by NYC as a NYC Landmark.
In 1992, Joe Esposito asked the coast guard to be the caretaker of the light. As a local resident, lighthouse enthusiast, historian, master electrician, carpenter, and mason, he cared for the station by cutting the grass, giving tours to visitors, and keeping the light shining. In 2001, he had to step down due to medical problems, and his service was recognized in a ceremony in 2001. Due to the care of Esposito and other volunteers, the lighthouse remained in good condition, and still resembled its old self.
Nowadays, only the top of the house is visible above the surrounding houses and trees. An automated light is still active and helps guide ships entering Ambrose Channel, and a second light was mounted on the tower to serve as another range light for the Swash Channel. The keeper's house is a private residence.
A model made by Joe Esposito himself stands proudly in the National Light House Museum on Staten Island, NY, and history about all of the lighthouses of Staten Island can be found at the museum in exhibits such as Beacons through Time, Optics: Projecting the Light, and Life at the Light: Lighthouse Keepers.
If you are looking for a house on Lighthouse Hill or anywhere else on the island, we at Tom Crimmins Realty would be happy to help you find your dream home. Call us at 718-370-3200 or visit our website at www.tomcrimminsrealty.com to get in contact with our excellent agents. You can also visit our office at 304 Manor Road.