Historic Huntington Lighthouse to reopen for tours

The sound of the Huntington Lighthouse's original fog bell ringing is the sound of success.

"It's a treasure, it's a gem—New York State, everybody should be proud of it," said Pam Setchell, the president of the Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society. "And most of all, we are."

The first phase of the foundation restoration of the 106-year-old offshore lighthouse is near completion. The historic landmark was taken over by a preservation group in 1985 after the Coast Guard wanted to demolish it.

"Half the roof was missing," Setchell said. "There were three to five feet of bird droppings inside."

After two years of work and $1.1 million in donations and grants, the historic structure is going to once again be open for tours, starting in in July. Setchell, who is leading the project, said it is a proud moment.

"I always felt I was lucky enough to grow up right here where we had our own lighthouse but it looked like an abandoned building," she said. "Now it's beautiful."

Close to 3,000 boulders were moved to make necessary repairs to the foundation. Barges trekked materials to add the steel sheeting. Some of the furniture, windows and the spiral staircase are original.

The restoration is a multi-phase project. Next up is the stone and upper concrete masonry work. The society is hoping to receive more donations to make it possible.

"These lighthouses go back a couple of hundred years," Setchell said. "These are our castles and they're all on the water. They've all got a great view and they've all got an abundance of magnificent stories to tell. In my opinion, every one of these lighthouses in the country should be saved."

Preserving the past to make way for the future.

Click here for information about tours.