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Red Lighthouse and The Great Grey Bridge
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Upper Manhattan and eastern New Jersey were at one time
inhabited by Native Americans known locally as the Wiechquaesgeck. Later Dutch
and English colonists joined the Indians fishing and hunting along the banks of
the Hudson River. Boat transport increased bringing shipwrecks. A red pole was
placed at Jeffrey’s Hook to warn of the danger.
The Little Red Lighthouse originally sat on Sandy Hook, New
Jersey but it was dismantled in 1917. In 1921 the lighthouse was reconstructed
on Jeffrey’s Hook.
In 1931 the George Washington Bridge was built over the
In 1942 Hildegarde Swift and Lynd Ward wrote a children’s
book-The Little RedLighthouse and the Great Grey Bridge.
It told of a happy little lighthouse that found even after the great bridge was
built the lighthouse still had an important job to do.
But the lights of the bridge made the Little Red Lighthouse
obsolete. In 1948 the light of the lighthouse was extinguished. When the USCG
announced the intention to auction off the lighthouse the public outpour of
funds and letters saved the light. The children’s book had inspired the people
to keep the happy little lighthouse.
In 1951 the USCG gave the property to Parks and in 1979 the
Little Red Lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Best wishes, Elaine