New England Lighthouses: A Virtual Guide
Latimer Reef Light
Fisher's Island Sound, New York
Latimer Reef Light main page / History / Bibliography / Cruises / Photos / Postcards

History
  Jeremy D'Entremont. Do not reproduce any part of this website without permission of the author.
Latimer Reef is a dangerous area at the east end of Fisher's Island Sound, four miles southeast of Mystic, Connecticut. As early as 1800 there was an iron spindle serving as a navigational marker on Latimer Reef. This marker was replaced by a buoy, then finally by the lighthouse in 1884. The Eel Grass Shoal Lightship, about 0.8 miles away, also helped mark the reef for 35 years before the lighthouse was built.
old photo
Latimer Reef Light c. 1890s
From the collection of Edward Rowe Snow, courtesy of Dorothy Bicknell
Latimer Reef Light is a cast-iron tower on a cylindrical concrete-filled cast-iron foundation. It is a typical example of offshore "sparkplug" lighthouses built in the 1880s and '90s.

Three stories inside the tower served as living quarters, while the fourth was a watch deck, topped by the lantern room. The tower was initially painted brown but was later changed to white with a brown band around its middle.

The lighthouse originally had a fifth-order Fresnel lens from Paris exhibiting a white flashing light. The lens was  replaced by a fourth-order Fresnel lens in 1899.

The first keeper, Charles E.P. Noyes, a Civil War veteran, was paid a salary of $600 per year. Noyes had previously been the master of the Eel Grass Shoal Lightship. His two assistants received $400 per year.

Left: Charles E.P. Noyes. Courtesy of Dan Hess.
Frank Jo Raymond, a keeper in the 1920s, learned to paint in his spare time and later made his living as an artist. A man of many talents, Raymond rowed ashore on Saturday nights to play saxophone in a jazz band. He also sold some photographs he took during the hurricane of 1938 for use on postcards.


man on lighthouse Left: Coast Guard lighthouse keeper Neil B. Patton at the lighthouse in the early 1940s. Courtesy of J. Patton.

Latimer Reef Light
U.S. Coast Guard photo
lighthouse in 1940s Latimer Reef Light was automated in 1974, and in 1983 its Fresnel lens was removed and replaced by a modern plastic lens. The lighthouse remains an active aid to navigation.

It can be seen distantly from the shore and from ferries in the area, but it is best viewed by private boat.

Left: The lighthouse during World War II, courtesy of J. Patton.

Keepers: 

(This list is a work in progress. If you have any information on the keepers of this lighthouse, I'd love to hear from you. You can email me at nelights@gmail.com. Anyone copying this list onto another web site does so at their own risk, as the list is always subject to updates and corrections.)

Charles E.P. Noyes (1884-1912), Eugene Sheffield Nash (assistant, 1894-1895), George A. Troy (assistant, 1910-1911), William H. Smith (c. 1909-1914?), Frank Jo Raymond (c. 1920s-1930s), Neil B. Patton (Oct. 20. 1942 - May 10th, 1943), ? "Durfy" Doyle (c. 1942-1943)

Last updated 11/23/10
  Jeremy D'Entremont. Do not reproduce any part of this website without permission of the author.

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