West Bank Light

A Brief History…

West Bank Light, officially West Bank Front Range Light, is a lighthouse in Lower New York Bay, within New York City, and acts as the front range light for the Ambrose ChannelIt is currently active and not open to the public. The tower was built in 1901 and heightened in 1908.

From LighthouseFriends.com:                                                                           As its name indicates, West Bank is located on the west side of the main shipping channel in New York’s Lower Bay that leads to the Narrows and on to New York Harbor. In 1896, the Lighthouse Board proposed a lighthouse for West Bank, whose sandbars are covered in places with just one to six feet of water, to help make the channels at the principal entrance to New York Harbor safe and fully available to large vessels at night and during thick weather. The board estimated that a light and fog signal could be established for $50,000, and Congress provided this amount on June 4, 1897.


Newly completed lighthouse in January 1901
Photograph courtesy National Archives

After a site had been selected and the metalwork for the foundation cylinder, which weighed 190 tons, had been received from West Side Foundry of Watervliet, New York, work on West Bank began in the spring of 1900, and the landing platform was finished on June 30.


In July, 1900, the benchmark was established and the site was excavated to a depth varying from 8 to 10 feet below the bottom. In August the first, second, third, and fourth sections of the foundation cylinder plates were sunk in position. The entire metal work of the superstructure, weighing 135,000 pounds, was delivered at the depot. In September the concrete filling of the first, second, third, and fourth sections of the cylinder was completed. The excavation of the exterior was filled with gravel. Some 250 tons of riprap were deposited, and the fifth, sixth, and seventh courses of foundation cylinder plates were prepared for lowering into position. In October the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth courses of foundation cylinder plates were fitted into position, and the ninth course was in progress; concrete filling was brought up to the level of the cellar floor. In November the ninth and last course of foundation cylinder was completed, the erection of superstructure was begun and completed, and the lantern deck and watershed begun. In December the erection of the station was completed. On January 1, 1901, a fixed white light of the fourth order, with red sector, was established. On June 1, a blower siren signal was established consisting of 2 oil-burning engines, each of 2 horsepower with No. 2 blower, 1 blower, 1 blower siren, 1 copper horn, 1 blast device, and 1 blast gate to sound blasts of 2 seconds duration, separated by alternate silent intervals of 2 and 5 seconds. On June 12 the eighth load of riprap was delivered, making a total of 1,528 tons, furnished and placed under contract for the protection of the station.


Year Established


Year First Lit


Automated Light


Solar Power Installed