The Montauk Point Lighthouse just before sunrise on (Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

The Montauk Point Lighthouse just before sunrise on the longest day of the year. (June 21, 2010)

Montauk Lighthouse over the years

The Montauk Point Lighthouse is one of Long Island's great landmarks. The lighthouse was authorized by Congress in 1792 under George Washington. Construction started on June 7, 1796, and was completed just about five months later on Nov. 5 - remarkably fast for the day. Stone came across the sound from Connecticut (Middletown, to be exact), and the builder, John McComb Jr., went on to construct other celebrated New York landmarks, such as Gracie Mansion (1799) and City Hall (1803).

Fireworks celebrate Montauk Point Lighthouse Bicentennial, 1796-1996 (201
(Credit: Bill Davis / Newsday)

Fireworks celebrate Montauk Point Lighthouse Bicentennial, 1796-1996 (201 yrs. old).

Montauk Point Lighthouse seen in 1990 photo taken

Montauk Point Lighthouse seen in 1990 photo taken at twilight.

The view from the Montauk Point Lighthouse lamp
(Credit: Newsday Photo/Ken Spencer)

The view from the Montauk Point Lighthouse lamp room, looking west along the Atlantic.

Montauk Point Lighthouse shortly after sunrise Monday morning.
(Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin)

Montauk Point Lighthouse shortly after sunrise Monday morning. (June 21, 2010)

The Montauk Point Lighthouse just before sunrise on
(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

The Montauk Point Lighthouse just before sunrise on the longest day of the year. (June 21, 2010)

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SATURDAY: SWITCH ON See thousands of lights decorating
(Credit: Doug Kuntz, 2008)

SATURDAY: SWITCH ON

See thousands of lights decorating the historic 1796 Montauk Point Lighthouse, turned on to usher in the holiday season, 4:30-7 p.m., with live music, a visit from Santa and refreshments.
INFO: Free, 631-668-2544, montauklighthouse.org

A view of the Montauk Point Lighthouse from
(Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa)

A view of the Montauk Point Lighthouse from Camp Hero State Park. (2006)

Isaac McComb's 1776 watercolor entitled "A View of
(Credit: Photo Courtesy of Montauk Point Lighthouse Museum)

Isaac McComb's 1776 watercolor entitled "A View of the Light House on Montauk Point." McComb was the brother of lighthouse builder John McComb. Since there was no photography, he needed the painting as evidence of the job's completion.

The lighthouse was depicted in a card that
(Credit: Montauk Point Lighthouse Museum)

The lighthouse was depicted in a card that was one of 50 in Hassan Tobacco's ``Light House Series.''

A "penny postcard" from around 1900 of the
(Credit: Courtesy of Wayne Duprez)

A "penny postcard" from around 1900 of the Montauk Point Lighthouse, Long Island

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Montauk Point Lighthouse
(Credit: Photo from "Long Island To-day" by Frederick Ruther, 1909)

Montauk Point Lighthouse

A postcard view of Montauk's most recognized symbol;
(Credit: The Montauk Point Lighthouse Museum)

A postcard view of Montauk's most recognized symbol; the lighthouse began working in 1796, six years after George Washington signed the order to build it.

Dawn's first light hits the Montauk Point Lighthouse
(Credit: Photo by James Kirkikis)

Dawn's first light hits the Montauk Point Lighthouse and the rocky shoreline. This was taken in February when the temperature was 10 degrees and a wind-chill around -15 degrees. My camera froze 15 minutes after taking this shot.