Cold Spring Harbor, NY
The “Cold Spring Harbor Light,” which today is more widely known as the “Can” or “The Bell Tower,” sits
at the entrance of the Cold Spring Harbor waterways, and stoically lies off the coasts of Lloyd Neck and
Centre Island, Oyster Bay.
The “Light” has served as a navigation beacon for shippers and boaters since 1890. It was a true
lighthouse up until 1965, which was manned by several lighthouse keepers or “wickies.”
The history of the lighthouse keepers is quite interesting. Out of 75+ applicants, William S. Keene was
awarded the job as the lighthouse's first keeper, who eventually went onto become the Cold Spring
Harbor Postmaster. He was followed by Samuel L. Turner, who was one of the longest tenured keepers
for nearly a decade. Due to his proximity at Sagamore Hill, Oyster Bay, President Theodore Roosevelt
often visited keeper, Arthur Jensen. Another keeper even kept a piano in the lighthouse which he could
be heard playing on quiet, windless nights.
In 1965, the lighthouse was purchased by Lady Glen, a local resident on Centre Island. Lady Glen had
great memories of the lighthouse and decided to acquire it, paying a mere $1.00 for the transaction.
She had the lighthouse relocated to her Centre Island property, just 1 mile southwest, where it lies
As one can see, the lighthouse has much deeper, local history than most might be aware. When you
circle it on your boat, or see it from the causeway, remember the keepers who served to keep our
waterways safe from 1890-1965!