The four-mile long stretch of water between Little Gull Island and Fishers Island to the northeast — known as The Race — marks the place where Long Island Sound, Block Island Sound, and Fishers Island Sound all meet. The Race develops currents in excess of five knots and has been treacherous to navigation for centuries. In the late 1860s, funds were appropriated for the construction of a lighthouse on Race Rock, about 3200 feet off the southern tip of Fishers Island.
Two fascinating characters were involved in the construction of the lighthouse: Francis Hopkinson Smith, who was also a successful artist and writer, and master diver Thomas Scott. Construction took almost eight years in all and included a major tragedy.
Jeremy D’Entremont is the author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles on lighthouses and maritime history. He is the president and historian for the American Lighthouse Foundation and founder of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, and he has lectured and narrated cruises throughout the Northeast and in other regions. He is also the producer and host of the U.S. Lighthouse Society podcast, “Light Hearted.” He can be emailed at Jeremy@uslhs.org