Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Cabinet Card Photograph Showing Early View of Devil's Stepping Stones Lighthouse Is Uncovered

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Yet another item relating to the early history of Pelham has surfaced on eBay ®. Regular readers of the Historic Pelham daily Blog will recall that on March 2 I published a Blog posting entitled "Using eBay ® -- of All Things! -- To Assist You With Your Research Into Local History". I actually received a nice note from Meg Whitman's office regarding that posting. (Meg Whitman has served as President and CEO of eBay since March, 1998.)

I recently purchased from an eBay ® seller located in Lewisberry, Pennsylvania an old cabinet card photograph showing an early view of the brick Devil's Stepping Stones Lighthouse that stands in Long Island Sound off the southern coast of City Island which, when the lighthouse was built in 1877, was part of the Town of Pelham. The Cabinet Card Photograph is a 3-1/4" square photograph affixed to a 5" square card. On the back it is marked very lightly in pencil "Pelham Bay, N.Y." A detail from the photograph appears immediately below.

The Devil's Stepping Stones Lighthouse has been a historic landmark well known to area mariners for nearly 130 years. A recent book on the history of City Island and Orchard Beach says the following about the historic lighthouse:

"The brick Devil's Stepping Stones Lighthouse . . . was built in 1877. It lies in Long Island Sound south of City Island, and marks the entrance of the East River to New York City. Lighthouses were vital to ensuring ships a safe voyage around dangerous waters. Legend claims the lighthouse was named after the Devil, who tried to deter Westchester County Indians from capturing him by throwing stones into the water as he was fleeing to Long Island. Still another legend says that Native Americans told the early Dutch and English settlers that an evil spirit used the nearby dangerous reefs as stepping stones to cross the Sound to Long Island shores. The lighthouse has a fixed green light and became automated in 1966."

Source: Scott, Catherine A., Images of America: City Island and Orchard Beach, p. 26 (Arcadia Publishing 1999, Reissued 2004).

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