<p><strong>Long a beacon for navigators, the <a href="http://www.montauklighthouse.com/">Montauk Point Lighthouse</a> in Long Island, <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/united-states/new-york-guide/">New York</a>, (pictured in 2004) is now also a symbol of U.S. heritage: The site was named this month as 1 of 13 newly selected <a href="http://www.nps.gov/nhl/">U.S. National Historic Landmarks</a>. </strong></p><p>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.</p><p>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.</p><p>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 <a href="http://www.doi.gov/whoweare/jonjarvis.cfm">Jonathan B. Jarvis</a> said in a statement.</p><p>(Also see <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/06/pictures/110623-americas-11-most-endangered-historic-places-nation/">"Pictures: 11 Most Endangered U.S. Historic Sites Named."</a>)</p>

Montauk Point Lighthouse

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.")

Photograph by Andre Jenny, Alamy

Pictures: New U.S. Historic Landmarks Named

A restored warship, a rock-art capital, and a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed campus are among 13 new U.S. historic sites of distinction.

Read This Next

What drives elephant poaching? It’s not greed
How old are you, really? The answer is written on your face.
The rise of vegan safaris

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet