The Culper Spy Ring is a fascinating aspect of Long Island history, and many sites integral to this Revolutionary era espionage effort remain on Long Island today. For example, one can still visit the lighthouse at Execution Rocks off Sand’s Point, where British soldiers executed rebels and spies by chaining them to the rocks at low tide and allowing the rising waters to drown them. What is now the Target Rock Wildlife Refuge near the village of Lloyd Harbor was once a training area for British soldiers.
Visitors can tour the home of one of General George Washington’s most famous spies, Robert Townsend, and Raynham Hall in Oyster Bay. The David Conklin Farmhouse in Huntington, built in 1750, was where Sybil Conklin and her family lived while her husband was held prisoner by the British. Sagtikos Manor served as accommodation for British officers and later, George Washington. Brewster House, in the Town of Brookhaven, has stood since 1665. During the Revolution, Joseph Brewster used the property as a pub, serving British officers while his cousin Caleb worked as a spy.
The picturesque Long Island Heritage Trail follows the harbors and inlets of the Long Island Sound, where patriots risked their lives rowing intelligence to Washington in Connecticut. The efforts of the spy ring were a deciding factor in Washington’s eventual victory, and in 1790, the general traveled to Long Shore to thank these brave American men and women for their efforts. The trail, which stretches 100 miles from Great Neck to Port Jefferson, was also put to good use by rumrunners and bootleggers.