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Native American Legends

  • Siwanoy Native Americans from Connecticut believed that the Evil Spirit, Habboamoko, used Stepping Stones as a foothold as he fled Connecticut across the Long Island Sound at low tide after the Battle for Connecticut.


European Settlers

  • Early maps noted the reefs in the Long Island Sound as “Devil’s Stepping Stones” after the Native American legend

  • The name “Devil’s Stepping Stones” persisted until 1877 when the lighthouse opened for the first time thought the named was shorted to “Stepping Stones.”


The Lighthouse

  • In June 1866, $6,000 was allocated for the creation of a day beacon in the western Long Island Sound.

  • In 1875, construction began by A.D. Cook and a band of Irish bargemen and stonemasons

  • The dwelling was completed in January of 1877, despite “1876” being carved into the building

  • The lighthouse officially opened on March 1, 1877

  • First optic was a Fifth Order Fresnel lens showing a fixed, red light

  • After the opening of Stepping Stones, the value of New York City imports increased by 63%, proving Stepping Stones’ worth as an important channel marker for New York harbor.

  • In 1932, the light was changed to a Fourth Order Fresnel lens showing a fixed, green light

  • Lighthouse was updated and modernized in 1944

  • The modern, flashing fixed greed light was installed during automation in October 1966

  • The lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 15, 2005

  • In 2006, the lighthouse was deemed “surplus” and offered at no cost to various groups to repurpose the lighthouse into a public attraction

  • In 2008, the Town of North Hempstead gained custody of the lighthouse from the federal government

  • In 2012, the Stepping Stones Lighthouse Preservation Society was established with the help of the Town of North Hempstead.



  • Official Name: Stepping Stones Light

  • 1,600 yards offshore of Elms Point, Kings Point

  • Situated on the northernmost reef in the Long Island Sound

  • Between North Hempstead and City Island

  • Guards the approach to New York City’s East River



  • Square, red brick keeper’s dwelling topped with a mansard, Parisian styled, roof and attached to a square tower. The building is sitting on a round granite platform resting on a riprap foundation.

  • Style is considered Second Empire Victorian

  • Base Diameter: 48 Feet

  • Height: 49 Feet above Sea Level


Quick Facts

  • US Coast Guard Light List Number: 21505

  • Current Light Characteristics: Flashing green every 4 seconds

  • Color of the Lighthouse: Red

  • Focal Plane: 46 Feet

  • Range: 8 Nautical Miles

  • Current Use: Active Aid to Navigation



View North Hempstead’s Video of Stepping Stones at


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