Fire Island Light was a landmark for transatlantic ships coming into New York Harbor at the turn of the last century. For many European immigrants, the Fire Island Light was their first sight of land upon arrival in America.
The present light house is a replacement of the original 1826 light that was not tall enough to be effective. In 1857 Congress appropriated funds for the construction of a new tower, 168 feet tall. It was first lit on November 1, 1858. The new tower was fitted with a First Order Fresnel Lens, which emitted a white flash at one minute intervals. A Funk Lamp with 4 concentric wicks was used for illumination. Over the years various fuels were used for the lamps, including whale, lard, and mineral oil, and kerosene before electrification in 1938. The lighthouse is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
OSE was asked by the National Park Service to evaluate the existing lantern tie-down system as part of an overall restoration project. The goal was to replace the corroded wrought iron rods with a system that would meet current wind loads specified by code, but would be the same size and configuration of the existing so as not to alter the appearance of the light. The rods tie the cast iron/wrought iron/glass lantern down to a granite pedestal at the top of the brick tower. Currently, OSE is working to address the thick, reinforced but failing stucco that encases the deteriorating brick structure.