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  • Writer's pictureSophisticated Weddings

The Little Red Lighthouse

Today - March 20th - is #NationalProposalDay. With that in mind, we have both a suggestion for a terrific proposal site.

Manhattan’s only lighthouse acquired its affectionate nickname from Hildegarde H. Swift’s 1942 children’s classic, “The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge.” The book is a tale of the friendship between the tiny beacon and the George Washington Bridge. It introduced children around the world to the red, round, and very, very proud little New York City lighthouse.

Built in 1880, the 40' tower was brought to Jeffrey’s Hook in 1921. From its home on a rocky point on the Hudson River near Manhattan’s northern edge, the lighthouse warned ships away from the shore as they made their way down the narrow channel between New York and New Jersey.

However, when construction of the George Washington Bridge was completed in 1931, the brilliant lights of the bridge’s 600' towers overwhelmed the little lighthouse. In 1947, it was officially decommissioned and abandoned. By 1951, the Little Red Lighthouse was slated for demolition, with its cast-iron shell to be sold for scrap.

Hearing this news, thousands of children who loved Swift’s book started a nationwide campaign to save the Little Red Lighthouse. Thanks to their efforts, ownership of the lighthouse was transferred from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.

Today, visitors climb a long, iron stair to the top of the tower, where the lantern room is again fitted with a working lens that blinks proudly at cargo barges and passenger ships sailing under the George Washington Bridge.

The Little Red Lighthouse stands as a symbol of endurance, which is what you will hope for- and work towards- in your marriage together.


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