Jeffrey's Hook Lighthouse, Fort Washington Park
178th Street & Hudson River
New York, NY
[From Lafayette Place at W. 181st Street, take steps, footpath and footbridge over the highway, down to the park and south to the Lighthouse.]
The Jeffrey's Hook lighthouse, erected in 1880 and moved to its current site in 1921, has become widely known as the children's literary landmark, "The Little Red Lighthouse." The story of the lighthouse in Fort Washington Park was popularized by the children's book The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge, by Hildegarde H. Swift with illustrations by Lynd Ward, published in 1942. In this fictional account of Jeffrey's Hook lighthouse, the structure was presented as a symbol of the significance of a small thing in a big world. The lighthouse became a celebrated "child's landmark," representing importance and permanence, after the proposed removal of the lighthouse in 1951. The public outcry of children and their allies prompted the preservation of the structure through its transfer to the jurisdiction of the City of New York/Parks & Recreation. The Jeffrey's Hook lighthouse, which formerly had stood as the North Hook Beacon at Sandy Hook, New Jersey, from 1880-1917, was reconstructed in 1921 by the United States Bureau of Lighthouses as part of a project to improve the navigational aids on the Hudson River.
A standard type conical iron tower, painted red, the lighthouse was in operation at Jeffrey's Hook from 1921 to 1947 with a flashing red light and a fog signal. The Jeffrey's Hook lighthouse, the southernmost fixed navigational aid on the Hudson River and the only lighthouse on the island of Manhattan, marker\d a prominent point projecting into a deep stretch of the river below Mount Washington and is a reminder of a more natural river shoreline than exists today. The erection of the lighthouse at its current site was associated with the importance of river shipping in the first decades of the twentieth century when the New York State Barge Canal system was improved and the deeper Hudson Shipway and the Port of Albany were under development.