Execution Rocks Lighthouse, Port Washington New York

Date added: January 14, 2023 Categories: New York Lighthouse

Established in 1850, this property has been an important local aid to navigation and has promoted maritime safety for more than a century and a half. Located approximately six miles from the confluence of the East River and Long Island Sound, it marks a rocky shoal that lies nearby an important route for nautical traffic.

The shoal at Execution Rocks has been a notorious hazard to navigation since colonial times. Its dangerous character became especially problematic during the early nineteenth century when maritime traffic in the region increased in conjunction with settlement growth and economic expansion. These circumstances ultimately led to the Federal government's decision to construct a lighthouse at this location.

The port of New York has been an important locus of maritime activity since colonial times. During the early nineteenth century, it developed into a nationally-significant center for maritime commerce. One reason for this is New York harbor's extraordinarily well-suited natural setting. Its Upper Bay is large, virtually landlocked, and safe for shipping. The area available for anchorage is vast, and there is an unusually great amount of shoreline where vessels may dock. In addition, this seaport's geographic location is ideally situated to take advantage of transatlantic, coastal and inland trade. During the late nineteenth century, more than one-third of the world's maritime commerce passed through the port of New York and its neighbors in Upper New York Bay.

Vessels can reach New York's harbor by following a variety of natural navigation routes. These include channels linking the port with the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island Sound, the Hudson River, and New Jersey's Raritan River. Sea-going maritime traffic generally navigates channels where the water is naturally deep, though portions of a waterway can be improved by dredging.

Vessels traveling between New York harbor and New England ports often navigated western Long Island Sound and the upper East River. Long Island Sound tends to be more sheltered than the open Atlantic, though it can become quite rough in bad weather. The Sound also afforded a back door to New York when weather conditions made it difficult for vessels to enter by way of shipping channels in Lower New York Bay.

Until the early twentieth century, the East River (a tidal strait rather than a river) was the principal scene of shipping business at New York. However, the Hudson River has broader and less turbulent waters. Its shoreline along the island of Manhattan provides better docking places for ocean-going steamers. By the early 1900s it became the main berthing area for maritime traffic at the port.

Although New York is endowed with an abundance of natural features, it has been further improved through human ingenuity. During the early 1760s, commercial interests at the port conducted a lottery to raise funds for a light station at Sandy Hook. This resulted in the completion in 1764 of a tall, masonry lighthouse. It remains today, the oldest extant lighthouse in the United States. One of the Federal government's early actions after the Revolutionary War ended was to create a lighthouse establishment to construct aids to navigation. This resulted in more lights being built in the New York area. Lighthouses built prior to the middle nineteenth century were land-based masonry towers for the most part. With advances in engineering, however, lights began to be built offshore directly on or nearby natural hazards to navigation such as shoals and rocks. The first offshore lighthouse built in waters near the port of New York was constructed in 1839 at Robbins Reef in Upper New York Bay. It was supported by a pier built of granite blocks atop a rocky ledge.

The lighthouse at Execution Rocks was constructed some ten years later. It was designed as a masonry "wave-swept tower" that rose directly from the water yet was able to resist the force of heavy seas in an exposed setting. By the mid-1870s, the Lighthouse Board was constructing offshore light stations atop cast iron cylindrical caissons set into the seabed. Examples of these near New York include Great Beds Light Station in Raritan Bay and Romer Shoal Light Station in Lower New York Bay.

In 1922, the U.S. Lighthouse Service reported on its facilities in the port of New York and immediate waters. This area amounts to approximately 200 nautical miles of shoreline and about 170 square miles of water area. The Lighthouse Service's report stated that this area was marked using 387 aids to navigation. These included lighthouses, lighted beacons, lightships, and unlighted beacons and buoys. This was an increase of nearly 80 percent from 1905 when nautical charts of the area showed only 217 aids.

Established as an aid to navigation in 1850, this lighthouse is an example of a "wave-swept tower" designed for open-water locations. This design concept was invented in England during the second half of the eighteenth century. The tower is conical and its foundation wraps tightly around a natural bedrock outcrop. The lower section is made with cut stone blocks that interlock both horizontally and vertically. The tower's circular plan deflects wave energy and prevents too much force from being applied to any side. These characteristics make the structure especially strong and able to withstand severe battering by waves. The Execution Rocks lighthouse was designed by Alexander Parris (born 1780, died 1852), a noted American architect-engineer of the first half of the nineteenth century. He designed several important public buildings during his career, including a number of lighthouses.

The two-and-one-half story, granite masonry keepers' dwelling was constructed in 1867 to 1868. Designed with Gothic Revival styling, its rusticated cut granite fabric gives it structural strength and a solid appearance. This reflects a widespread national desire for stability and permanence in the aftermath of the Civil War, which concluded two years before construction began. The dwelling sits upon a masonry pier built on submerged land and is connected with the adjoining light tower by a masonry passageway. Its exterior is virtually unaltered. The interior spaces are partially altered, but retain basic characteristics of the original plan.

The light station occupies an artificial island that was constructed over more than a century, beginning in the middle nineteenth century. It exemplifies the use of riprap and cut stone for building a manmade landform on submerged land in order to support structures necessary for a light station's functioning. In addition to the lighthouse and keepers' dwelling, the artificial island contains foundation features of utilitarian structures that have been demolished. These include the former fog signal building and oil house.

Execution Rocks is a rocky shoal situated along the route commonly followed by vessels navigating between Long Island Sound and the port of New York. It is located approximately midway between New York's Westchester County mainland and the north shore of Long Island. While several rocks are exposed at low tide, the entire group is often submerged and thus dangerously concealed from view. The origin of the name Execution Rocks is unclear. It appears to date to colonial times and may relate to the shoal's treacherous location far from shore along an important shipping lane. These factors amplified its danger to vessels and reduced survival chances for mariners who befell it.

The shipping lane near Execution Rocks is one of two principal routes followed by vessels traveling to and from the port of New York. Nautical traffic using ports along Long Island Sound and elsewhere in New England is funneled by geography to use the northern mouth of the East River in western Long Island Sound. The volume of vessel traffic in the area increased substantially from colonial times through the nineteenth century. Nowadays, it consists largely of tugs or push boats with barges, and recreational watercraft.

The danger posed by Execution Rocks led to $25,000 being appropriated by the U.S. Congress in March 1847 to fund construction of a lighthouse. The site selected was a large bedrock outcrop that was submerged except at low tide. Its open-water location was exposed to storms and strong wave action. These circumstances presented a challenging problem in terms of design and construction, and led to the decision to build a wave-swept tower. This tower type was an important advance in lighthouse architecture and engineering first developed successfully by John Sematon during the middle eighteenth century in England. He designed and built Eddystone Rock Lighthouse in the English Channel. Completed in 1759, it was the world's first wave-swept tower lighthouse. This structure type's principal characteristic is a foundation made with large cut stone blocks trimmed to interlock with one another both horizontally and vertically. The first wave-swept tower lighthouse in the United States was built during the first half of the nineteenth century. The most famous example of the type in the U.S. is Minots Ledge Light. It was built in 1855 to 1860 off the Massachusetts coast, and has been designated a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The Federal government selected Alexander Parris to design the lighthouse at Execution Rocks and supervise its construction. He was a highly respected architect-engineer with extensive experience in public building projects. His other works include some twenty lighthouses from Maine to Florida, Boston's Quincy Market, the Virginia governor's mansion, the Bunker Hill Monument, and several buildings at nineteenth century U.S. Navy Yards.

Work at the site on Execution Rocks began in 1848. The workmen building the foundation could only work during low tide. That was the only time when the natural bedrock could be trimmed and leveled, and the dressed stone foundation blocks placed and locked into neighboring blocks. Over time, nine courses of stone blocks were assembled and trimmed to form the structure's solid interlocking foundation. The lighthouse was originally designed to rise directly from the water and stand-alone with waves lapping against its base. Its entry was approximately 5 feet above water level and surmounted by a Greek Revival classical pediment. This doorway was to be accessed using an iron ladder attached to the tower's exterior that extended down to the water. During the tower's construction, it was decided to construct a wooden dock alongside the tower to facilitate mooring vessels and transferring materials and personnel.

When completed in 1849, the conical lighthouse stood as a solitary tower surrounded by a limited amount of riprap. Its northern and eastern sides were the most exposed to the forces of prevailing seas and winter ice. The protective riprap emplaced initially was found to be insufficient. More was added in 1856, and additional riprap was placed around the lighthouse from time to time through the late 1860s. Still more was added at various times in the 1870s, 1890s, and during the twentieth century.

When the light station was established in 1850 its lantern was equipped with 13 Lewis patent Argand oil lamps with 21-inch diameter parabolic reflectors. These lamp-reflector units were arranged in two rows, one above the other. They displayed a fixed light. A fog signal bell was also installed. In 1856, the original optic was replaced with a fourth-order Fresnel lens that displayed a fixed white light.

The lighthouse was designed for its keepers to live inside the tower and use a small boat for travel to and from shore. When not in use, the station's boat was lifted from the water using two iron davits attached above the tower's entrance. The station's keepers lived inside the tower from 1850 until 1868.

Following the Civil War, the Lighthouse Board decided to undertake repairs and renovations at the property and construct a separate keepers' dwelling. This proposal was submitted to Congress in 1866. The proposed work was authorized by an Act of Congress in March 1867, and $19,000 was appropriated for it.

The work undertaken in 1867 included building a substantial masonry pier next to the southern side of the light tower. It replaced the earlier wooden dock and provided a platform to support the keepers' dwelling. The dwelling was completed in 1868. Other work included painting the light tower's exterior white, replacing the original windows with iron-framed ones, and installing a new lantern supported by an iron platform. In 1868 the station's original fog bell was replaced with a third-class Daboll trumpet powered by hot air from an Ericsson caloric engine. The Daboll trumpet's resonator horn extended from the light tower's fifth-story northeast window. This fog signal was replaced in 1879 with a first-class Daboll trumpet.

A steam-powered siren fog signal was installed at the light station in 1891. This work included building a fog signal house next to the light tower's northeast side. This building was 23 feet long northeast-southwest by 17 feet wide northwest-southeast. A 10-foot by 20-foot coal shed was attached to its northwest side. The signal's two steam sirens were powered by boilers in the fog signal house. A cistern was built inside the light tower's first story to hold water for the boilers. Other work in 1891 consisted of replacing the lighthouse's fixed white Fresnel lens optic with a new fourth-order Fresnel that signaled a flashing white light at 10-second intervals. A brick masonry oil house was built later in the 1890s.

In 1897, a new lantern deck and lantern were mounted atop the light tower and the fog signal's sirens were replaced. The masonry passageway connecting the keepers' dwelling with the light tower was built in 1898. In 1899, the lighthouse's all-white daymark coloration was changed to white with a brown band around the middle. This coloration remains the lighthouse's daymark today. In 1905, the steam-siren fog signal was replaced with compressed-air sirens powered by two 13-horsepower internal combustion engines.

A fire in December 1918 destroyed the fog signal house and the machinery inside it. It also damaged the oil house's brickwork and roof. This fire also caused chipping damage to the lighthouse's stonework on the northern side. In addition, windows, woodwork, gutters and eaves on the keepers' dwelling were damaged. The cost of these damages was estimated at $13,500. Subsequent to this event, the oil house was repaired and a new concrete fog signal house was built. They stood until being demolished circa the 1980s. In 1928 a radio beacon was installed at the light station. It included an antenna strung between two steel skeletal towers erected at the northern and southern ends of the station's artificial island. A radio room was set up inside the keeper's quarters. The two skeletal towers were dismantled circa 1973 and replaced with a single antenna tower.

The U.S. Lighthouse Service was abolished as a separate federal agency in 1939 and its duties were subsumed by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). Responsibility for staffing Execution Rocks Light Station passed to the Coast Guard at that time. The lighthouse's interior was rebuilt in 1973 to 1974. This included replacing the floors on the second through fifth stories and installing steel i-beam joists. The new second-story floor was concrete. Steel grating floors were installed on the third through fifth stories. The previously-existing iron stairways were retained and continue in use today. The staffing of Execution Rocks Light Station by Coast Guard personnel ended when it was automated in December 1979. In 1993, the lighthouse's Fresnel optic was replaced with a modem rotating aerobeacon. This was replaced in turn circa 1996 when the existing VRB-25 marine beacon was installed. The light station's other existing aid to navigation equipment includes an emergency light for use if the main optic fails, an automated fog signal and backup unit, and a RACON radar transponder beacon. These are powered by batteries recharged using a solar panel array. Today, Execution Rocks Light Station continues to be operated by the U.S. Coast Guard as an aid to navigation marking a hazardous shoal. Its distinctive lighthouse and keepers' dwelling make it a prominent landmark in the open waters of western Long Island Sound. Even though operated automatically and situated at a remote location far from shore, this light station continues to evoke feelings that recall the dedication to duty characteristic of American lighthouse keepers throughout the nation's history.

Building Description

Established in 1850, Execution Rocks Light Station is located in western Long Island Sound offshore of Nassau County, New York. It is situated approximately 0.9-mile north-northwest of Port Washington on Long Island. This light marks Execution Rocks, a hazardous area of shallow water and rocks near an important shipping lane for maritime traffic navigating to and from the port of New York. The property includes three contributing resources. These are the lighthouse, keepers' dwelling, and light station site. The lighthouse is made of cut granite masonry and was built in 1848 to 1849. It is conical, 72 feet tall overall, and an example of the wave-swept tower lighthouse type. Its designer was Alexander Parris, a prominent American architect-engineer responsible for several important nineteenth-century public buildings. This lighthouse is painted white except for a wide brown band that encircles its middle. The keepers' dwelling was built in 1867 to 1868. It is a two-story granite masonry building with Gothic Revival styling. The dwelling is connected to the lighthouse by a short masonry passage. The light station site includes an artificial island approximately 0.3 acre in area made of riprap and cut stone. Beginning with a small deposit of protective riprap around the lighthouse, it was enlarged through time until reaching its present extent in the 1960s. The artificial island includes a protected boat basin, two landing docks, and multiple foundations of demolished utilitarian structures. Execution Rocks Light Station is owned by the U.S. Coast Guard. It is operated as an automated aid to navigation identified as number 21440 on the regional light list. The lighthouse is equipped with a modem optic that signals a flashing white light that is visible for 15 miles in clear weather. Other modern aid to navigation equipment includes an automated fog signal and a RACON radar transponder beacon. The only access to this property is by boat.

The following description is based on research concerning this property's design, construction plans and other information. A site inspection visit was made in May 2004 by Daniel Koski-Karell, Ph.D., U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters Environmental Management Division.

Execution Rocks Light Station is located in western Long Island Sound offshore of Nassau County, New York. It is situated approximately 6.5 miles north of the confluence of the East River and Long Island Sound at Throgs Neck, and 0.9 mile north-northwest of the town of Port Washington on Long Island. This light marks a rocky shoal known as Execution Rocks. The shoal is approximately 0.25 mile wide east-west, by 0.8 mile long north-south. Water depths there range from 3 feet to 15 feet at high tide. The waters surrounding Execution Rocks are from 60 to 110 feet deep. This area is navigated by vessels going to and from the port of New York by way of western Long Island Sound. Execution Rocks has been a hazard to maritime traffic since colonial times. It is especially dangerous during storms and periods of fog.

The light station property is approximately 0.3 acre in area. It includes three components. These are the lighthouse, keepers' dwelling, and light station site. The lighthouse was built first. The keeper's dwelling was constructed nearly two decades later. The light station site includes the property's artificial island which was built and progressively enlarged over a long period from the 1850s to the 1960s.

The lighthouse is built of cut granite masonry and is six stories tall counting the lantern. It was constructed in 1848 to 1849 and first lighted in 1850. The tower has the shape of a frustum. That is to say, it is conical except for a truncated top. This structure stands 72 feet tall from the base of its foundation to the lantern's top. It is 53 feet tall measured from the surface of the artificial island that surrounds it. The tower is 38 feet in diameter at its base and 15 feet in diameter at the top. It is capped with a circular metal platform that supports an octagonal lantern and lantern gallery.

This structure was originally built as a wave-swept tower that stood alone surrounded by water. It rests atop a bedrock outcrop that is below water level at high tide. The tower's lower part is made with courses of cut granite blocks that interlock both horizontally and vertically. The lowest five courses fit snugly around the underlying outcrop while the next four courses are solid. This provides a secure foundation that resists the forces of unimpeded waves in an exposed setting. The nine foundation courses rise to an elevation four feet above mean high water. Above this, the tower is hollow.

The tower has a single entrance on its southwest side. When originally built, this entrance was open to the outside. A keepers' dwelling was built next to the light tower in 1867 to 1868. In 1898, a short, pitch-roof masonry passageway was constructed to connect the tower with the adjoining keepers' dwelling. The tower's first-story floor is 33 inches lower than the dwelling's first story. The connecting passage includes four steps leading down from the dwelling to the tower's first story.

The lighthouse appears to rise from the light station's artificial island, though this is misleading since it predates the island. The lighthouse is painted in a distinctive fashion to provide a recognizable daymark. It is white except for a thick brown band around the tower's third story.

The light tower's fenestration consists of seven window openings. All measure 22 inches tall by 29 inches wide. There is one window on the second story and two each on the third, fourth and fifth stories. Three of these windows are aligned vertically on the tower's northeast side and four on the southeast side. An additional former window opening on the second story's northeast side has been closed with masonry. No original sash remains. Six window openings hold modem steel frames with single Plexiglas lights. The second-story southeast window is fitted with an exhaust fan duct. A non-functioning modem fog detector is positioned inside the fourth-story northeast window.

The top of the tower is surrounded by overhanging stone coping. This supports a circular platform made of cast iron plates. The lighthouse's octagonal lantern sits centered atop this platform. It is surrounded by an open-air lantern gallery. This gallery is four feet wide and bounded by a metal railing 45 inches tall supported by stanchions with orb-shaped finials.

The lantern's lower part is a parapet wall constructed of eight rectangular cast iron plates that are 3 feet wide by 3.5 feet tall. One parapet plate holds a two-leaf, center-opening metal door that provides access to the lantern gallery. The glazing above the parapet wall consists of eight rectangular glass panes 3 feet wide by 3 feet tall. They are supported by a sill and metal vertical mullions. The lantern's roof springs from a soffit above the glazing. It is made with eight triangular cast iron plates that meet at an apex crowned with a vent ball and lightning rod.

The tower's first-story interior is a single circular room 18 feet in diameter that is lined with brick. The surrounding granite wall is 3.5 feet thick at this elevation. The ceiling is 7.5 feet above the floor, and is made of concrete supported by steel I-beams. In the center of the room, there is the open top of a circular brick-lined cistern 8 feet in diameter and 5 feet deep. It is presently empty. A curving cast iron stairway with 9 steps is attached to the wall on one side of the room. The lower portion of its handrail ends with a decorative scroll. This stairway leads to the second story.

The second story is a circular room 18 feet in diameter with an 8-foot ceiling. The surrounding wall is the tower's granite masonry painted white. There is no interior brick lining on this story or the ones above. This room has a single window opening on the southeast side. It holds an exhaust fan duct. A former window opening on the northeast side has been closed with masonry. The concrete floor is pierced with a rectangular opening offset from the center. This opening is covered with steel grating that can be removed for lifting objects from the first story. The name "Peebles" and "73-74" are scratched into the floor, suggesting its concrete was poured when the lighthouse was renovated in 1973 to 1974. The ceiling is steel grating supported by two steel I-beams. A modem electrical panel and a bank of six batteries are positioned in the room's western part. They provide power for the lighthouse's automated aids to navigation. A curving cast iron stairway with 12 steps is attached to the wall on one side. It leads up to the third story.

The third story's circular room is 15 feet, 10 inches in diameter and has a steel grating floor. The ceiling is steel grating supported by two steel I-beams. The surrounding wall is painted white. It is pierced on the northeast and southeast sides with window openings. Both hold Plexiglas glazing. This room is empty except for a curving cast iron stairway with 11 steps attached to the wall. It leads up to the fourth story.

The fourth story's circular room is 13.5 feet in diameter and has a steel grating floor. The surrounding wall is painted white. It is pierced with windows on the northeast and southeast sides. The southeast window has Plexiglas glazing. A non-functioning modem fog detector stands atop a pedestal attached to the floor next to the northeast window. Its sensor extends to the window. A curving cast iron stairway with 11 steps is attached to the wall. It leads to the fifth story.

The fifth story's circular room is 11.5 feet in diameter and has a steel grating floor. The ceiling is the metal platform that supports the lantern. The surrounding wall is painted white. There are windows with Plexiglas glazing on the northeast and southeast sides. This room is empty except for a vertical metal ladder with 8 rungs leading to a trapdoor opening in the ceiling. It provides access to the sixth-story lantern room.

The lighthouse's sixth story is its octagonal lantern surrounded by an open-air lantern gallery. The lantern room's interior diameter is 6.5 feet. The floor is made with cast iron plates. It is pierced with a trapdoor. The lantern's lower, parapet wall is 3.5 feet tall. One parapet panel is pierced with a center-opening double door. The glazing above the parapet rests on a sill and is 3 feet tall. The lantern's roof springs from a soffit above the glazing. The 8 metal plates forming the ceiling converge around a circular vent opening at the apex.

A pedestal in the center of the floor supports the lighthouse's optic, a modem VRB-25 marine rotating beacon. It signals a white light that flashes at 10-second intervals and is visible for 15 miles in clear weather. The optic's focal plane is 62 feet above mean low water. An emergency beacon and a RACON radar transponder beacon are mounted on the gallery outside the lantern. The emergency beacon signals a light of reduced intensity if the main optic fails to function. The RACON beacon transmits the Morse code letter "X" as its identifier.

The keepers' dwelling sits atop a masonry pier between the lighthouse and the light station's boat basin. It was constructed in 1867 to 1868. The dwelling is two and one-half stories tall and has a pitch roof. It is built of rusticated cut granite masonry with Gothic Revival styling. Its exterior is a dark gray color. The dwelling is attached to the lighthouse by a pitch roof, cut granite masonry passageway approximately 6 feet long. This passage extends from the dwelling's northeast comer to the southwest side of the light tower.

The main axis of the dwelling's roof is oriented northwest-southeast with gables at either end. There is a side gable on the dwelling's southwest side. The roof is pierced with three chimneys made with cut granite blocks. These are centered near the ends of the three gables. The dwelling's main entrance is on the first story below the southeast end gable. This entry is capped with a triangular pediment hood above a lintel that bears the date "1867" in relief. That was the year the dwelling's construction began. The doorway holds a non-original metal door. The dwelling's window openings are covered with plywood sheets pierced with vents to allow air circulation. The original sash is missing.

The entrance opens to the first-story foyer. Directly in front is the wooden stairway leading up to the second story. It has a wooden handrail, balustrade and newel post. There is a hallway to the right of the stairway. It leads straight ahead toward the rear of the building. The hallway includes two doorways on its northeastern side. The first opens to the passageway leading to the light tower. The one farther along is fitted with a steel door. It leads to the outside, but formerly provided access to a storage shed that is now missing. There is a doorway on the left side of the entry foyer. It leads to the dwelling's living room and a closet. There is another large room in the rear part of the first story. It was formerly used as a kitchen. The second story includes a hallway, three bedrooms and a bathroom. The second-story hallway is open to the stairwell leading up from the first story and is bounded by a wooden railing. Another stairway directly above the first-story stairway leads to the half-story attic above. This attic stairway has a wooden handrail. The attic is partitioned into two rooms. All the keepers' dwelling rooms are presently vacant. Paint is peeling from the interior walls and ceilings.

The light station site occupies a small, low-lying artificial island approximately 0.3 acre in area that is built of riprap and cut stone. It includes a northern part and a southern part joined by a breakwater. The light station's boat basin is between the island's northern and southern sections.

The oval-shaped northern section is substantially larger than the south part. It is approximately 125 feet long from northeast to southwest by approximately 80 feet wide from northwest to southeast. It attained its present-day extent through several expansions over time, originating with riprap deposited circa 1850 to form a protective apron around the lighthouse. Riprap added later from the 1850s to the 1860s expanded the northern section substantially and completely surrounded the light tower. The 1860s expansion included capping the riprap with a smooth surface of cut stone blocks, along with construction of the masonry pier that supports the keepers' dwelling. Subsequent additions during the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century provided more space.

Several outbuildings and structures were constructed on the island's northern section. These have been demolished, though foundation ruins remain showing locations and configurations. These foundations include the former fog signal house and oil house, and supports for fuel tanks and a radio antenna tower.

The fog signal house foundation is located next to the lighthouse's northeast side. Also known as the engine building, it housed machinery for the station's compressed-air fog signal. All that remains of this structure today is a rectangular concrete foundation 27 feet long northwest-southeast by 18 feet wide northeast-southwest. Its interior floor is paved with tiles. A set of steps on the foundation's southeast side shows the position of an entrance. At the present time, two modern automated fog signal devices sit on the tile floor. One is operating and the other is a backup unit in case the first one fails. This fog signal system sounds a two-second blast every 15 seconds and operates from April to November.

Additional, smaller concrete foundations are nearby. One, located next to the fog signal house foundation's northern corner, is a concrete block measuring 9 feet long by 9 feet wide by 32 inches tall. A metal plate measuring 20 inches square attached to its flat surface appears to have been the base for a radio antenna. Next to the concrete block, there are two parallel concrete supports. They are each 7 feet long by 30 inches tall and appear to have supported a fuel tank. The surface of the island's northern part northwest of the light tower is paved with concrete between the fog signal house foundation and the keepers' dwelling. This area had been enclosed during the middle twentieth century, and included rooms used for various utilitarian purposes.

The island's northern section includes the masonry pier supporting the keepers' dwelling. A metal ladder is attached to the face of the pier alongside the boat basin. A nonfunctioning crane mounted on the pier's deck was formerly used for moving supplies and equipment. A modem solar panel array facing south is mounted on a framework southeast of the lighthouse. It is used to recharge batteries that power the existing automated aids to navigation. A modem chain link fence surrounds the artificial island's northern section near the high water line. There is a gate in the fence next to the ladder on the pier.

A riprap breakwater extends southwest from the artificial island's northern part to the southern section. It shelters the light station's boat basin where watercraft may moor alongside the masonry pier. The southern section was built during the artificial island's final expansion in the 1960s. It is approximately 50 feet long northeast to southwest, by approximately 30 feet wide northwest to southeast. The southern section includes level space and a deteriorated concrete dock at its southwest end. This dock allowed larger vessels to moor than could be accommodated in the boat basin.

Execution Rocks Lighthouse, Port Washington New York Light station exterior view looking southwest, New York City skyline in left background (2004)
Light station exterior view looking southwest, New York City skyline in left background (2004)

Execution Rocks Lighthouse, Port Washington New York Keepers' quarters exterior view looking northeast (2004)
Keepers' quarters exterior view looking northeast (2004)

Execution Rocks Lighthouse, Port Washington New York Keepers' quarters and lighthouse exterior view looking north (2004)
Keepers' quarters and lighthouse exterior view looking north (2004)

Execution Rocks Lighthouse, Port Washington New York Lighthouse exterior view looking south (2004)
Lighthouse exterior view looking south (2004)

Execution Rocks Lighthouse, Port Washington New York View from lantern room to fifth story, looking down towards northeast (2004)
View from lantern room to fifth story, looking down towards northeast (2004)

Execution Rocks Lighthouse, Port Washington New York Keepers' quarters, first floor southwest room, west room to right, looking west (2004)
Keepers' quarters, first floor southwest room, west room to right, looking west (2004)

Execution Rocks Lighthouse, Port Washington New York Keepers' quarters, first floor stairway, looking northwest (2004)
Keepers' quarters, first floor stairway, looking northwest (2004)

Execution Rocks Lighthouse, Port Washington New York Fog signal house foundation and floor, looking down towards northeast (2004)
Fog signal house foundation and floor, looking down towards northeast (2004)