When the present Fire Island Light began operation on November 1, 1858, it was illuminated by a state-of-the-art first order Fresnel lens, an intricate beehive-shaped mass of brass and glass prisms, rotating on a clockwork assembly.
A New Lens for the New Lighthouse
This original first order Fresnel lens, an intricate beehive-shaped mass of brass and glass prisms, served as a beacon to mariners from the top of the Fire Island Lighthouse from 1858 to 1933. After being taken out of service, it was displayed at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia from 1939 to 2000.
Bringing the Original Fresnel Lens Home
On March 8, 2011, the Fire Island Light Station's first lighting apparatus - now more than 150 years old - made its way back to Fire Island...still in crates. Its future home, an intriguing new building designed specifically to display the impressive 16-foot-tall artifact, was completed and opened to the public in 2011.
The Fresnels Lens Building is open during regular hours for the Fire Island Lighthouse, which is operated by the Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society. There is no charge to enter the Fresnel Lens Building, but an interpretive fee is collected for lighthouse tower tours. Plan your Fire Island Lighthouse visit.
The Fire Island Light Station was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 11, 1981. Learn more about the history of Fire Island.
The Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society
FILPS is authorized as a fundraising partner to support maintenance and improvements at the Fire Island Lighthouse, and has helped raise funds to keep the Fire Island Light shining.
Last updated: June 20, 2018