Dunkirk Lighthouse, Dunkirk, New York
DUNKIRK (POINT GRATIOT) LIGHT
POINT GRATIOT/LAKE ERIE
Station Established: 1826
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1875
Automated? YES 1960
Foundation Materials: DRESSED STONE
Construction Materials: RUBBLESTONE ENCASED IN BRICK
Tower Shape: SQUARE
Markings/Pattern: UPPER 2/3S WHITE/LOWER NATURAL/RED LANTERN.
Relationship to Other Structure: ATTACHED
Original Lens: THIRD ORDER, FRESNEL 1857
- The lighthouse was established in 1826 at Point Gratiot and includes: a foundation made out of dressed stone; a lighthouse made out of rubblestone encased in brick; a square shaped tower with the upper two thirds being white and the lower one third being natural; and a red lantern housing.
- The original lens is a third order Fresnel lens installed in 1857 and is still in operation.
- In 1875-1876, a 61-foot stone tower and a beautiful Victorian residence were constructed to replace the original tower, which was threatened by erosion. These structures still stand today. Bricks from the original keeper's house formed the foundation for the new house. The old cylindrical tower was moved adjacent to the new keeper's residence. A square tower was built around the old tower "to be more compatible with the keeper's house and was lit.
- The lighthouse was automated in 1960 and is still operational and being still in use makes it a rarity. Only 70 such lenses are operational in the United States, 16 being on the Great Lakes of which two are in New York.
- In 1984, the grounds of the lighthouse were leased by the Coast Guard to the Chatauqua County Armed Forces Memorial Park Corporation, a non-profit organization. The lighthouse and grounds are now The Dunkirk Lighthouse Museum.
Researched and written by Andy Gray, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.