Cape Vincent Breakwater Lighthouse

July 22, 2019

Cape Vincent Breakwater Lighthouse, Cape Vincent, St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario, Jefferson County, New York


Location: Cape Vincent, NY
Station Established: 1900
Year Current Tower First Lit: 1901
Deactivated: 1934
Foundation Materials:
Construction Materials:
Tower Shape:
Height: 15’
Markings/Pattern: white
Relationship to Other Structure: detached
Original Lens: Fifth order fresnel lens
Appropriation: $5,000

Historical Information:

  •  August 31, 1901: two fixed red lights were placed on the completed portion of the breakwater being built in the Saint Lawrence River. It was to protect vessels traveling through the harbor at Cape Vincent. The temporary beacons were lens lanterns placed on mast that protruded from a small house.
  •  The light keeper at this time lived in a dwelling he rented in town. He reached the light by a small boat, which was stored in a rented boathouse. The Lighthouse Board requested that a dwelling and boathouse be built on conveniently located land. A $5,000 appropriation was requested to procure a proper site and construct the buildings.
  •  According to the 1907 Annual Report of the Lighthouse Board, the eastern beacon was moved 500 feet toward the eastern end of the breakwater. A lifeline was installed on the eastern end of the breakwater to be used by the keeper in case of a storm. It was made of 7/8 inch cable and supported by two-inch wrought-iron pipe posts spaced ten feet apart.
  •  The temporary breakwater lights were replaced by squat white towers, and were topped by octagonal lantern rooms. A Fifth-order Fresnel lens was installed in the tower. The sole surviving tower was removed from the breakwater and relocated to its current location in 1951.

Researched and written by Jamie Smith, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.