Buffalo Harbor South Entrance Light

Oct. 15, 2019

Buffalo Harbor South Entrance Light (South Buffalo Light or Southside Buffalo Light), Buffalo Harbor, Buffalo, New York

Built in 1903, deactivated in 1993.


Historical South Tower:

Location: Southern entrance of Buffalo’s Stony Point breakwater near the site of the former Bethlehem Steel mill.
Station Established: September 15, 1903.
Year Original Tower First Lit: 1903
Operational: No.
Automated: Yes, 1935.
Deactivated: Yes, 1993. Original tower inactive.
Foundation Material: Timber crib with concrete pier.
Construction Material: Cast Iron
Tower Height: 43.5 feet
Tower Shape: Cylinder base with a conical midsection with a round lantern room. Black circular outside walkway with railing around lantern room. Glass in lantern room in diamond shape.
Markings/Pattern: original base was colored brown with white midsection and black roof on white lantern room.
Relationship to Other Structure: Adjacent with enclosed passage way to fog signal house. Arched roof on fog signal house.
Original Optic: Fourth Order Fresnel lens.
Focal Plane: 40 feet.
Replacement Optic: 300mm optic attached to tower gallery railing. Replacement optic: removed from lighthouse. Current light on pole.
Open to the public: No

Current South Tower:

Location: Light on pole on breakwater adjacent to original tower.
Year Current Light First Lit: 1993.
Operational: Yes.
Automated: Yes.
Focal plane: 36 feet
Characteristic: Blinking red light from a 300mm plastic optic. Red light on post with orange triangle day marks.
Current use: Active aid to navigation. Open to the public? No
Ownership: U. S. Coast Guard

Historical Information:

  • In the latter part of the Ninetieth Century ship traffic to Buffalo necessitated expansion of the Buffalo harbor and a new breakwater was constructed south of the main harbor.
  •  At the turn of the last century funds were appropriated for construction of light stations to mark the new breakwater.
  •  The southern light was near the Lackawanna Steel plant, which became under the ownership of Bethlehem Steel in 1992.
  •  Original Fourth Order Fresnel lens was removed and installed in Buffalo’s Old Main Lighthouse and relit in 1988.
  •  A fog signal with compressed air was completed in the fall of 1904. Original fog signal was replaced with an air diaphone. Fog signal is not operational.
  •  National Register of Historic Places, November 16, 2007.
  •  July 2008 the lighthouse was offered to qualified groups through the Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. Application of Buffalo Lighthouse Association approved.


  • Delos Hayden (1903)
  •  Edward Van Natta (1903-04)
  •  John Burns (1904)
  •  George Codding (1904-1913)

Researched and written by Ed Shaw, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.  Source: Larry and Patricia Wright, Great Lakes Lighthouses Encyclopedia, Erin, Ontario; Boston Mills Press, 2006