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View On Gardiners Point Island | Orient Point, New York

© Sophie W. Smith

Joined October 2012

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Artist's Description

Gardiners Point Island is an island in Block Island Sound, New York, that was the former location of the Gardiner Island Lighthouse as well as Fort Tyler.

For many years the island was connected via a shoal to Gardiners Island and as such it is under the jurisdiction of East Hampton. In 1851 the federal government purchased 14 acres (5.7 ha) on the peninsula from the Gardiners for $400 with the Gardiners Point Light first being lit in 1855 after a construction expenditure of $7,000.

A March 1888 Nor’easter caused a break in the peninsula permanently turning the point into an island. Between 1890 and 1893 the island was shrinking at the rate of 102⁄3 feet per year.

During the Spanish–American War the War Department appropriated $500,000 to build the Fort Tyler battery on the island (named for former President John Tyler who had married Julia Gardiner Tyler who had been born on Gardiners Island).

The shifting sands caused problems for the fort as well and it was abandoned in the late 1920s. In 1921 its guns included Battery Edmund Smith, 2–8" Disappearing, 2–5" (or possibly 8") Pedestal.

In 1938 the island was declared a National Bird Refuge by Franklin Roosevelt and transferred to the Agriculture Department.

During World War II the fort was used for target practice and was reduced to its present state where it is popularly called “The Ruins.”

The state of New York briefly considered turning it into a park but it is deemed a navigational hazard because of the possibilities of not exploded ordnance. It is now part of the Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Read more

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