Location: Located in Lower New York Bay, roughly 2.5 miles offshore from Great Kills Harbor.
Latitude: N 40.51237
Longitude: W 74.09876
Year Constructed: 1893. Active
Tower Height: 45 feet Focal Plane: 51 feet
Round cast iron sparkplug tower including 3-story round keeper's quarters, mounted on cast iron caisson; 250 mm lens. Lantern and upper 2/3 of the lighthouse painted white, lower 1/3 and caisson black.
Construction of the lighthouse was completed in 1893. The new cast-iron tower was cone-shaped, built in the “spark plug” style common among offshore lights in that region. The tower had a canopy over the lower gallery when first built. The tower’s beacon was a fourth-order Fresnel lens, which focused a white beam of light to the southeast, while a red light was shown in the remaining directions. The light was first exhibited on April 25, 1893.
Old Orchard Shoal Lighthouse is located about three miles offshore from Staten Island in seventeen feet of water.
The top portion Old Orchard Shoal's caisson foundation flares out like a trumpet to a diameter of thirty-three feet. The lower portion of the foundation is filled with concrete, but water cisterns and a basement are located in the top portion. The three-story, brick-lined tower is centered atop the circular foundation and provided housing for the keepers and necessary supplies. The bottom two stories feature rectangular windows, that are now covered up, while the third story is lit by five porthole-style windows. A metal staircase, located behind a metal partition wall, winds up the interior wall of the tower in a counterclockwise direction.
A circular watch room surrounded by an open gallery sits atop the tower, and provides access to the octagonal lantern room and its gallery. All of the metalwork for the lighthouse was provided by the Variety Iron Works Company of Cleveland, Ohio.
During the winter of 1918, ice floes damaged the caisson foundation causing it to develop cracks. Roughly 7,000 tons of additional riprap were placed around the tower to strengthen the foundation, but the the resulting wider extent of riprap prevented the station's boat from being launched using the davits on the main gallery. Consequently, a concrete boat landing, equipped with a crane, winch, and cradles for maneuvering the station's boats, was built over and beyond the riprap. Riprap was extended west from the lighthouse in 1929 to a breakwater to shelter the boat landing.
Old Orchard Shoal Lighthouse was automated in 1955, but still shows a flashing white light with a red sector, although it no longer has a fog signal. The lighthouse is located near Great Kills Park, offshore from the Gateway National Recreation Area. In May of 2007, Old Orchard Shoal Lighthouse was excessed by the Coast Guard and offered at no cost to eligible entities. After no qualified group was found, the General Services Administration auctioned off the lighthouse during the summer of 2008.