Books were an extraordinarily important part of my childhood and I tend to wax nostalgic when I run across a story online about one that I actually owned and read. This week, I happened on a piece about a book and a centennial anniversary of a little piece of New York City history.
In 1921, a little red lighthouse was taken out of storage, re-assembled, and put to work at Jeffrey’s Hook along the Hudson River in northern Manhattan. After operating for only ten years, the George Washington Bridge was built on top of the lighthouse, dwarfing the 40 foot structure and making it obsolete.
Hildegarde Swift wrote and Lynd Ward illustrated a book in which the George Washington Bridge asks the lighthouse for help and by doing so, shows the small structure that it wasn’t obsolete and even small things have their place. Thanks to the public’s love for this book the lighthouse was saved, given to the NYC Parks Department, and added to the National Registry of Historic Places.
So, happy anniversary to the Little Red Lighthouse and thanks to Hildegarde Swift and Lynd Ward for the many happy childhood reads.
You bring back many memories. I had that book too as a child. When I worked as an Urban Park Ranger at Inwood Park about 20 years ago we offered a few tours of the little Read Lighthouse. We unlocked it so people could climb up to the top and told them about the history. I met an old man then who told me he used to swim there as a boy before the George Washington Bridge was built.
Sadly, I never actually visited the lighthouse even though I crossed the GW hundreds of times.
Nothing inside but stairs and it was broiling hot inside the cast iron tube so you didn’t miss much 🙂
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