Did you know that Theodore Roosevelt visited the Montauk Point Lighthouse? Well he did — and he signed the visitors’ book to prove it, back in 1898.

It was just after the Spanish-American War, and the victorious U. S. troops were suffering from exhaustion, tropical diseases, war wounds, and malnutrition. So they were all sent here to Montauk, to heal, including Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders — and over 20,000 other soldiers.

The population of Montauk at that time was probably under 100 people, and there were almost no roads or infrastructure. But there was a railroad station and a nice deep-water port at Fort Pond Bay, so the Army was able to create a tent city for about 25,000 servicemen virtually overnight. That’s not too far off from Montauk’s summer population today!

This little-known chapter of Montauk history is now being told at the lighthouse, thanks to a new installation that brings Colonel (not yet President) Roosevelt to life through the magic of AR.

Designed by software company 360 XR, and sponsored by a generous grant from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, TRAR (Teddy Roosevelt Augmented Reality) allows the Colonel himself to appear in your phone and recount his adventures here in Montauk.

Next time you visit, download the TRAR app and follow directions to the five markers dotted around the lighthouse. Point your phone at a marker and Teddy’s ready to tell you all about the time he spent here that long-ago summer.

TRAR is free to visitors to the lighthouse. Bully for that!