It was a complete surprise to locals, but the Oswego New York lighthouse has been determined to be excess by the United States Coast Guard and has become available via the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000. As of June 1, 2006, the property is being made available at no cost to eligible entities such as state and local agencies and non-profits, for such use as cultural or historic preservation purposes. Eligible groups had until August 1 to submit a letter of interest to the General Services Administration.
Located on Lake Ontario, the Oswego West Pier Head Light was first lit in 1934 and was automated in 1968. It originally had a fourth order Fresnel lens, which is now located at the H. Lee White Maritime Museum in Oswego, NY. The light is clearly visible from the end of the pier behind the museum, which is located in the harbor. For more on the history of the Oswego Lighthouse, see the June 2005 edition of Lighthouse Digest and look
for the story entitled “Remembering The Oswego Six.”
The city and the museum gained approval from the Oswego Common Council committee on June 19 to write a letter of interest to the GSA. The plan would be that the city of Oswego would take care of the maintenance, while the H. Lee White Marine Museum would manage it.
This would be no small undertaking. The interior walls and ceilings contain asbestos, as well as peeling lead-based paint and plaster. They will also have to evict its current feathered tenants, who are not “housebroken.” In addition, the only access to the light currently is by boat or by the abutting breakwater, which is not a short walk and not the safest one either, even on the best of days.
One idea under consideration is
the formation a nonprofit “Save the Lighthouse Fund” campaign to help with the effort.
This story appeared in the
September 2006 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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