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May 29, 2018 3:45 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Montauk Lighthouse To Lose Its Longtime Steward

Richard White, chairman of the Montauk Lighthouse Committee, in front of the Montauk Lighthouse. KYRIL BROMLEY
May 29, 2018 3:45 PM

Marge Winski, who has watched over the Montauk Lighthouse for 31 years, said on Monday that she’s preparing to move to Maine at the end of the summer and leave her position as keeper of the famous national landmark.

Ms. Winski, raised in Montauk, has spent nearly every night of the year on the second floor of the lighthouse’s museum building, keeping an eye on the lighthouse’s mechanics and appearance, and making sure no one is trespassing at the more than 200-year-old landmark.

Richard White, chair of the Montauk Lighthouse Committee, said on Monday that Ms. Winski would officially take her leave in September.

Ms. Winski said she thought that the Montauk Lighthouse Committee had already chosen a replacement for her, though she did not know whom specifically it would be.

But Kathryn Nadeau, president of the Montauk Historical Society, said on Monday that no decision has yet been made on Ms. Winski’s replacement.

Her tenure as lighthouse keeper began the same year the lighthouse was automated by the U.S. Coast Guard, and when buildings on the property were leased by the Coast Guard to the Montauk Historical Society. The Coast Guard transferred ownership of the lighthouse to the Historical Society in 1996. Ms. Winski’s position is meant to preserve the property itself for public visits.

Mr. White has known Ms. Winski since she was a student at the Montauk School, where her mother, Margaret, worked as a teacher. Mr. White referred to Ms. Winski as a “very unique person” and “extremely friendly,” even recalling a funny moment involving him and some friends on New Year’s Eve 1999.

“We stood out on Montauk Point, and it was a really beautiful night out, and Marge had climbed up to the top of the tower at the edge of the property—and dropped toilet paper on us at midnight!” Mr. White said.

Mr. White said that the person to replace Ms. Winski would need to be able to manage the mechanical and electrical systems of the lighthouse, while also being aware that guests could visit the museum at “odd hours,” requiring constant care of the grounds.

While it would not be a requirement for the new keeper to be a member of the lighthouse committee, Mr. White said “it’d be nice” if the new keeper was familiar with the committee’s mission to ensure the lighthouse’s preservation.

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Wheres Kate???
By knitter (1718), Southampton on May 30, 18 4:20 PM