On March 25th twenty Bethpage students made the 170 step climb, up the spiral staircase, to the top of the Fire Island Lighthouse.  This 168 foot lighthouse was commissioned in 1857 to replace the original 74 ft one that was too small.  The views from the top of the mainland and the barrier island were incredible.  Student learned of the history of the area and what life was like for the lighthouse keeper and his family in the 19th century.  Participants were showed how passengers were rescued off of stranded ships using ropes and pulleys.  Prior to electricity the beam of light emitted from lighthouses was from whale oil lambs.  To magnify the intensity of the oil lamp it was placed inside a Fresnel lens.   The lens concentrated the light into a single beam that was cast out to sea to guide ships.  The workings of the lamp and lens have been preserved and are there to explore.  Thanks to Mr. Portuese and Mr. Carroll for making this all possible!

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