Elm Tree Lighthouse (Elm Tree Beacon), Staten Island, New York
ELM TREE BEACON (SWASH CHANNEL FRONT RANGE LIGHT)
Location: MILLER FIELD, EASTERN SHORE OF STATEN ISLAND, NEW YORK
Station Established: 1856
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1939
Foundation Materials: UNKNOWN
Construction Materials: WOODEN TOWER
Tower Shape: OCTAGANOL
Markings/Pattern: BOTTOM AND TOP OF TOWER WHITE, MIDDLE RED
Relationship to Other Structure: SEPARATE
Original Lens: THIRD ORDER LENS
- An elm tree marked the entrance to the New York Harbor. When a lighthouse was built on the site it was naturally named Elm Tree Lighthouse.
- Lit in 1856, the wooden skeletal tower had a third order lens. The keeper’s dwelling was next to the tower. The tower was part of range lights with the New Dorp Lighthouse located 1.8 miles away.
- By 1899, the Swash Channel, which the lighthouse marked, had moved its course. The lighthouse needed to be moved.
- In 1939 the light was moved from the wooden skeletal tower to a 65 foot concrete tower on Miller Airfield and a sixth order lens was installed. The wooden tower was then torn down.
- The range lights were replaced with channel markers and deactivated in 1964.
- Miller Field was decommissioned in 1969 and ownership of the land transferred to the National Park Service. The land was turned into recreational use with several ball fields. The concrete tower and a hangar still stand on the sight.
- The channel is now marked by Staten Island Light and West Bank Light.
Researched and written by Melissa Buckler-Smith, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.