One of the 10 tallest lighthouses in the world once stood in Hampton Bays, near where Coast Guard Station Shinnecock is now located.
Forgotten by most people — the lighthouse was demolished in 1948 — Southampton’s town board voted 5-0 last week to mark the old location with the town’s first historic marker.
Town historian Zach Studenroth told the board that the State Education Department had put up about 20 historic markers of its own in the town, but that no new ones have gone up for years.
“This is long overdue,” Studenroth said.
The Shinnecock Bay lighthouse, activated on Jan. 1, 1858, was 150 feet tall, and lighthouse keepers had to climb 178 steps to get to its oil lamp. It had been active for only about six weeks when, on Feb. 19, the captain of the ship John Milton — unaware of the new lighthouse — mistook it for the Montauk Point light and tried to go around it to Block Island Sound. He ran aground, and all 31 members of the crew perished.
The lighthouse was torn down in 1948. “It’s surprising how many residents of Hampton Bays aren’t aware it was there,” Studenroth said. “In its day, it was one of the 10 largest in the world.”