The iconic Staten Island Lighthouse located on Lighthouse Hill, is now under new stewardship. The U.S. Coast Guard has entrusted the care of the lighthouse to the National Lighthouse Museum and the family of the late Joseph N. Esposito, who served as its caretaker from 1992 until his retirement in 2001. Partnering with Elizabeth A. Campbell (nee Esposito) and the rest of the Esposito family, the museum will be responsible for the yard and tower maintenance. Joseph Esposito, who was dedicated to the preservation of lighthouses, died in 2005.
“I am so honored to say that the legacy of my father, ‘Lighthouse Joe,’ will continue through his children and grandchildren who will now care for the lighthouse as he did,” said Mrs. Campbell.
In June 1906, Congress authorized the establishment of Staten Island Lighthouse. Most of the structure was completed in 1909, but it was not fully operational until April 15, 1912. The big news story that day in local papers was first time illumination, reported by one newspaper as, “Tonight, for the first time a great white ray of 300,000 candlepower will bore a hole through the gloom seaward from the new 100-foot tower on the hill at Richmond, Staten Island.”
It was only later that day that a much bigger news story emerged, which ironically involved the lack of adequate vision on the high seas. Hours before the Staten Island Lighthouse was turned on, the Cunard liner Titanic stuck an iceberg in the Atlantic and infamously sank with an enormous loss of life.
The Staten Island Lighthouse, also known as Ambrose Channel Rear Range Light, serves as the companion to the West Bank Lighthouse. The ninety-foot tower is located on Staten Island’s Richmond Hill, at a point that is 145 feet above sea level. The lighthouse was declared a historic landmark in 1968.