The federal Army Corps of Engineers has completed, ahead of schedule, an extensive reconstruction of the stone revetment that wraps around Montauk Point, protecting the famed Lighthouse there, East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said on Tuesday.
The project, begun in March 2021, saw the removal and reuse of existing five and 10-ton armor stones and the placement of new 10 and 15-ton stones along approximately 1,000 linear feet of the revetment, or sea wall, and slope stabilization with terracing and vegetation above its upper crest. Over the years, the Montauk Historical Society, which owns the property, has extended the rock bulwark to about 1,300 feet in length.
The stone work was completed in December, and site restoration, including revegetation, continued for another six months, Mr. Van Scoyoc said. “This project should help sustain the Lighthouse for another 100 years,” he said. “We certainly hope so.”
Along with the Lighthouse tower and keeper’s house, the complex includes a fire control tower, a garage, which served as an earlier keeper’s house, and archaeological sites associated with the Lighthouse and bluff.
Partial funding for the project came from a 2013 congressional appropriation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, as the project’s non-federal sponsor, committed $15.4 million toward the $30.7-million project. The Montauk Historical Society, the project’s local sponsor, will maintain the site. The Coast Guard transferred ownership of the site to the historical society in 1996.
The town board voted in 2019 to give the D.E.C. and the Army Corps a temporary access easement near the Lighthouse, allowing the corps to establish a staging area to the south and west of the beacon.
The Montauk Lighthouse was commissioned by President George Washington and constructed in 1796 approximately 300 feet from the receding edge of the bluff. It now sits less than 100 feet from that edge, with only the revetment protecting it from extreme weather and the ocean’s relentless waves.