Fire Island’s roots date back to 1653, when Isaac Stratford constructed a whaling station on the Island, naming it Whalehouse Point. Similar to Nantucket, Fire Island was originally founded as an important whaling center during the 18th and 19th centuries. This was a career, along with fishing, that could earn locals a lot of money. The long heritage of the whaling and fishing industry gives Fire Island much of its rich history.
The first large home in Fire Island that was constructed was in Cherry Grove in 1795. The owner of the home was Jeremiah Smith, the most notorious land pirate on Fire Island and the first permanent resident. Fire Island’s next development came in 1825 when the Federal government constructed the Fire Island Lighthouse at the western tip of the Island. The Fire Island Lighthouse was an important landmark for transatlantic ships coming into New York Harbor at the turn of the century. For many European immigrants, the Fire Island Lighthouse was their first sight of land upon arrival to America. This guiding light serves as the trademark of Fire Island and still stands as both a landmark and a museum. You can find out about many Fire Island shipwrecks, the first settlers, the local fishing industry, and more history at the Fire Island Lighthouse.
Real Estate boomed in the 1950s, and Fire Island emerged as the premier bohemian summer retreat. Newly established beach bungalows lit up with creative New Yorkers. Over the next ten years, the landscape became a collage of rooftops where the rich and famous were able to escape the busy streets of New York City and soak in the sun.
Today, Fire Island, with its rich history and tales of pirates and shipwrecks, has something to offer everyone: pristine beaches, rolling Atlantic shores, beach houses, resorts, shopping, and fine dining. It has fun activities to delight all visitors from sight-seeing, fishing, surfing, swimming, camping, and night-life activities to be the perfect getaway for relaxing and taking it easy. All this, and more, on beautiful, historic Fire Island.