The quaint beach community of Bayville now has its own lighthouse. Positioned on a plot of grass at the entrance of the IGA Food Basket shopping plaza, at 68 Bayville Ave., the 16-foot-tall structure symbolizes life in the seaside community. A deteriorating windmill from the 1964 New York World’s Fair once stood on the spot, but was taken down in the 1970s.
“The lighthouse is more than a windmill,” said Bob De Natale, a Bayville trustee. “It spells many things — a beacon of hope and refuge. In Hicksville it would be out of place. It belongs here.”
A ceremony to highlight the new addition was held on May 26, to kick off the Memorial Day weekend. The lighthouse, its top and bottom made of plastic and its midsection made of wood, was installed last fall. The village’s Beautification Committee and the Lions Club that worked together to bring it to Bayville, wanted to wait until the plantings that now surround it were in place before holding any kind of ribbon-cutting.
The plantings will continue to be maintained by Robert Merkel, the village’s landscaper.
The wooden windmill, brought to Bayville in the late 1960s, had been a part of the Long Island Rail Road’s exhibit at the World’s Fair in Queens. Maureen Albers, an Oyster Bay resident who lived in Bayville then, worked at the railroad’s information booth at the fair. She was instrumental in having it brought to Bayville.
“It was a big deal when we put the windmill here,” said her husband, Darrell. “The windmill turned by way of a motor.”
But over the years, the structure lost its appeal. “Cars used to crash into it, and kids hung on the blades,” Maureen said. “It was taken down.”
The Alberses own Hendrickson Bus Company, which is next to the shopping plaza. They also own the property where the lighthouse was installed. Maureen said the location is perfect.
“I think the new lighthouse enhances the community,” she said. “This shopping center is the focal point for residents.”
The entrance to the plaza was chosen because people can see it from the street, and a sensor that was installed will allow it to light up at night. “The kids are already gravitating toward it,” said Christopher Pflaumer, a member of the village’s Beautification Committee, who worked closely with the Alberses to bring the lighthouse to Bayville.
After the ribbon was cut some people lingered. “Today was a great day for all of us,” Pflaumer said, turning to look again at the lighthouse.