The United States purchased Cedar Island in 1834, for $200. The property, then described as a "sandspit", was three acres.
In 1961 Mrs Winthrop C. Bradley, the owner of the property, sued her neighbors, after they locked her from accessing a trail to the property. Her property had been reconnected to Long Island, by drifting sand, and, for the the last 18 years, she had accessed her property using a trail that crossed her neighbors property. But, in 1961, they placed locks on the gates to that trail. They told the courts that Tradespeople hired by Mrs Bradley were using the trail too frequently, causing too much damage in an environmentally sensitive area.
- "CEDAR ISLAND OFFERED FOR SALE BY TREASURY; Gardiner's Bay Lighthouse Tower Is Included in Offer by Morgenthau.". The New York Times (Washington, DC): p. 51. 1936-12-12. https://www.nytimes.com/1936/12/13/archives/cedar-island-offered-for-sale-by-treasury-gardiners-bay-lighthouse.html. Retrieved 2021-08-17. "The Treasury sought a purchaser today for Cedar Island and its 67-year-old nine-room house and lighthouse tower, a half mile off Cedar Point, L.I."
- Byron Porterfield (1961-06-08). "Woman Who Lives in Lighthouse Sues for the Right to Walk to It". The New York Times: p. 37. https://www.nytimes.com/1961/06/08/archives/woman-who-lives-in-lighthouse-sues-for-the-right-to-walk-to-it.html?searchResultPosition=20. Retrieved 2021-08-17.