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Special Events and Honors

Posted on: March 21, 2023

Town Recognizes Woman Lighthouse Keepers During Visit to the Historic Old Field Point Lighthouse

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Farmingville, NY – – In celebration of March as “Women’s History Month,” Supervisor Ed Romaine (right), Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (left) and Town Historian Barbara Russell (center) visited the Old Field Point Lighthouse to recognize the role that women played in the history of the iconic North Shore landmark.

Construction of the original lighthouse was completed in 1824 with the first lighthouse keeper, Edward Shoemaker, who served until his death in 1827. He was followed by his wife, who was lighthouse keeper for six months. Mrs. Shoemaker was replaced by Walter Smith who held the position from 1827 until his death in 1830. Mr. Smith’s wife, Elizabeth served as the lighthouse keeper for 26 years (1830-1856) and was followed by their daughter, Mary Smith Foster from 1856-1869. The end of her term concluded 39 consecutive years of having a woman serve as the Old Field Point Lighthouse Keeper.

Supervisor Romaine said, “Since March is Women’s History Month, it is due time to honor the three women who are part of the legacy of the Old Field Point Lighthouse. They were women with spirit and grit who helped sailors safely navigate their boats through the unpredictable waters of the Long Island Sound. We salute Mrs. Shoemaker, Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Foster for their courage, commitment and dedication to their work as lighthouse keepers.”

Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich said, “I was able to celebrate the start of women’s history month by spending a beautiful and windy morning at the Old Field Lighthouse with two of our Town’s pre-eminent historians, Ed Romaine and Barbara Russell. I learned about the three women who staffed the lighthouse and protected the lives of mariners, and we discussed what their lives may have been like. To all the women of our community who continue to shine and light our path, we pay our respects this month.”

The current Old Field Point Lighthouse was completed in 1869 and in 1933 it was deactivated, and the property was given to the Village of Old Field for public park purposes. At the start of World War II, the United States government seized the lighthouse for national defense and after the war it was returned. A modern beacon, now maintained by the Coast Guard, was placed back in the lantern room in 1991.
Old Field Lighthouse group photo

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