The Brewerton Range Rear Light has continued to do its duty everyday since its start in 1917. Located along the Oneida River, near the western edge of Oneida Lake in central New York, life and progress grew up around it. Until recently, it was all but hidden by trees, locked behind a chain-link fence, inside a nearly vacant commercial lot.
But now the Town of Hastings is kicking off its plans to have the light as the centerpiece of their newest parcel of public green-space. Town Supervisor Bruce Rio says the construction of the “Oneida River Lighthouse Park” will begin this summer of 2004. Trees have already begun to be cleared away from around it; this year’s plans include a green-space stretching from a proposed parking lot to the river, with the light in the middle of it. Supervisor Rio says that future plans include daytime use pavilions with tennis and basketball courts. They would eventually like to have an amphitheater that could seat as many as one thousand people.
According to Mr. Rio, within two year’s time, the town would like to have a mini-museum of some sort, in or around the base of the light, to show folks the history of the light and surrounding local area. The upper part of the tower would not be open to the public. The light is currently an active aid to navigation.
The Brewerton Range Rear Light has two sisters (or brothers, or a combination of the two, if you like) in the Oneida Lake area. There is a light on Frenchman’s Island and the Verona Beach Light near Sylvan Beach, at the eastern end. (See the January 2003 issue of Lighthouse Digest for more information on the restoration of the light at Verona Beach.) Oneida Lake is located just northeast of Syracuse and is the largest lake totally within the boundaries of New York state. All three lights were built in 1915 by the Lupfer & Remick Company of Buffalo to safeguard travel on the 22-mile long lake, which is part of the Barge Canal Route. All three are active and are maintained by the New York State Canal Corporation.
According to the Canal Society of New York State, the light is constructed of reinforced concrete, and the same forms were used with each of the three lights. The lantern is made of bronze and all the sheet metal is spun copper. The upper platform is ringed by a wrought iron latticed railing and is reached by climbing five steep and narrow stairways inside the tower. Slim rectangular windows illuminate the stairs. The tower height is some 85 feet with a focal plane height of about 92 feet. The tower is not painted.
For more information you may write to:
Supervisor Bruce Rio, c/o Town of Hastings, 1134 U.S. Rt. 11, Central Square, NY 13036 or call 315-668-2543.
This story appeared in the
June 2004 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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