The Jeffrey's Hook Lighthouse at the foot of the New York tower of the George Washington Bridge, was extinguished ages ago, yet blazes on as a beacon of inspiration by day from Fort Washington Park in Washington Heights. Best known as the Little Red Lighthouse, the 40-foot structure was originally built on the sandbar peninsula of Sandy Hook, New Jersey, in 1880. By 1917, other nautical warnings had rendered its 1,000 pound fog signal and flashing red light obsolete and, in 1921, the U.S. Coast Guard pulled the plug, dismantled the structure, and reassembled it on the Hudson River banks of Jeffrey's Hook in upper Manhattan. The advent of the George Washington Bridge, which opened in 1931, again stole the little lighthouse's thunder, but not its spell. In 1942, "The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge," a children's book written by Hildegarde Swift and illustrated by Lynd Ward, had nurtured enough champions for the diminutive structure to dissuade the Coast Guard from swinging its wrecking ball. For over six decades since, the winsome little red tower has continued to elicit blinding smiles from visitors and passersby.
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