Posts Tagged ‘Long Island’

East End Lighthouses of Long Island Sound

September 1, 2010

One of the most important and relevant features usually portrayed on a sea chart is the Lighthouse.  The lighthouses of America are well documented and many have played their part in the birth of the nation and the struggles with the British in particular.  The lighthouses of the east end of Long Island sound around Block Island, Fisher Island, Gardner Island, Connecticut and Long Island itself are no exception.

On this previously unseen chart of 1813, surveyed and drawn during the British blockade of the sound throughout the 1812-15 war the Lighthouses each have a story to tell.  In the first two instances the Lightouses in question were apparently more valuable strategically with their light extinguised than they were lit!

The lighthouse on Little Gull island overlooked naval activities between the Americans and the British in the vicinity of ‘the Race’.  It was constructed in 1806 and was 51ft high.  The light on the tower was forceably removed by British marines on the instructions of Sir Charles Hardy, commander of the British squadron patrolling the sound in 1813, after the lighthouse keeper, Giles Holt, refused to extinguish it.

The New London harbour lighthouse depicted at the mouth of the Connecticut River, south of New London, was constructed in 1801 and stood 89ft.  The octagonal brownstone tower still stands and is the oldest existing lighthouse in Connecticut.  This light was extinguished during the War of 1812, this time at the request of the American Commander, Commodore Stephen Decatur, Jr., who spent most of the war confined, along with his fleet, by the British in the Connecticut River. 

The East-end lighthouses depicted on the Heritage Charts chart A211 also include the construction on Watch Hill Pt. and Montauc Pt. both of which share the history of the region.

The light at Watch Hill (‘Watchill’) Point was reputedly first established to warn local residents of attack from the sea, not as an aid to navigation.  The lighthouse depicted here, an 81ft wooden tower, came into operation in 1808.  It was Rhode Island’s second lighthouse.  During his 27 year incumbency, lighthouse keeper Jonathan Nash, recorded 47 wrecks.

Finally, the lightouse on Montauk (‘Montuc’) Point was completed and came into operation in 1796 and was the first public works project of the United States of America.  It is alleged that the infamouse pirate Captain Kidd buried treasure at the ‘money ponds’ near where the lighthouse was built nearly a hundred years later.  Maybe!…

For the complete chart please visit our main website at:

For more detailed information on the lighthouses of the east end of Long Island Sound I strongly suggest that you follow this link:


New – Pre American Civil War map of Long Island, New York and Connecticut c1836

August 6, 2010

We are very excited to have uncovered an important map of  ‘Long Island with the Evirons of New York and the Southern part of Connecticut’. 


The map represents something of a diversion for the Heritage Charts collection inasmuch as it is far more recent than most of the maps, charts and plans we specialize in.  It is not especially hydrographic, nor is it military in nature but it is still hugely interesting and it represents an important slice of American heritage. 

What makes the map especially rare and important, quite apart from the fantastic quality of image, is the date;  The orinal of this map was produced in 1836.  Not only is that 25 years prior to the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861 but it is a very early edition of a map produced by J.H.Colton the famous NY publisher. 


 It predates all editions of the same map currently held by The New York Public Library..

…and a mulitutude Antiquarian Map dealers…  none of whom get a link here, but feel free to type any of the info presented in these title pages into your browser.  Do of course note the date – 1836, quality of the images you see, as well as the price of an original..  And you’re still unlikely to find one to match ours.

The map was originally produced and published on 4 seperate sheets which we have stitched together to make up the whole image.  Perhaps the most stiking aspect of the map is the picture and detail the map offers of the development of an industrial network and city planning we can recognize today along with the infrastructure – roads, bridges, railways etc – upon which this area is now built. 

More detail on this map will be released shortly when it is posted on the main Heritage Charts web-site at

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