Long a beacon for navigators, the Montauk Point Lighthouse in Long Island, New York, (pictured in 2004) is now also a symbol of U.S. heritage: The site was named this month as 1 of 13 newly selected U.S. National Historic Landmarks.
The oldest lighthouse in New York, Montauk was completed in 1796 and became "the most important landfall light for ships bound for New York City from Europe" during the first half of the 19th century, according to a U.S. National Park Service statement.
In general, National Historic Landmarks are chosen "because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States," according to the Park Service, which administers the program on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior.
With the new additions, there are now about 2,500 historic landmarks, "places [that] not only showcase our rich and complex history—from prehistoric time right up to the modern era—but [that also] help drive tourism and boost local economies," Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said in a statement.
(Also see "Pictures: 11 Most Endangered U.S. Historic Sites Named.")