Salmon River Lighthouse
|Location||Lake Ontario at Salmon River, Pulaski, New York|
|Governing body||Private Owner|
|NRHP Reference #||79001618|
|Added to NRHP||March 30, 1979|
|Location||In New York, at the mouth of the Salmon River, on Lake Ontario|
|Year first constructed||1838|
|Year first lit||1838|
|Construction||Wood Tower on Fieldstone House|
|Markings / pattern||Red Tower w/ Silver Lantern on three-story gray house|
|Focal height||50 ft (15 m)|
|Original lens||8 lamps, 14 in (36 cm) reflectors|
|Current lens||190 mm|
|Characteristic||Flashing White 2 seconds|
|ARLHS number||USA-719 |
|USCG number||7-2015  (Private Aid, Mar 1 – Dec 1)|
Land for the Port Ontario Lighthouse Reservation was purchased from Sylvester and Daniel Brown by the Federal Government on September 1, 1837. Jacob Gould, Superintendent of Lighthouses on Lake Ontario, publicized for bids about a week after the purchase. The specifications included dimensions of the lumber and weight of the copper sheets, as well as the materials and dimensions of the house and an outhouse. There were eight lamps in the tower which originally burned whale oil.
The bid was awarded to Joseph Gibbs and Abner French, local contractors. Most of the stonework was accomplished by Jabez Meacham, using stone from a nearby quarry. The wroght iron railings that encircled the birdcage lantern room were formed by John Box, a local blacksmith. The total cost was about $3,000.00.
- Lewis Conant, August 1838 – July 1849
- Lucius B. Cole, July 1849 – October 1854
- Charles M. Lewis, October 1854 – March 1857
- A. H. Weed, March 1857 – 1858
Commerce was booming at the time the lighthouse was constructed. Two piers were built at the mouth of the Salmon River to improve the harbor. A canal was proposed to connect the Salmon River to Lake Oneida and the Erie Canal. Unfortunately, the canal was never built, and Selkirk faded in importance. With an official beacon no longer justified, the lighthouse was deactivated in 1858.
Selkirk Lighthouse Hotel
On October 16, 1895, Leopold Joh, a German émigré, purchased the lighthouse at auction from the US Government for $155. The lighthouse was first used as Joh’s private residence before it was incorporated into a hotel complex that Joh started to develop in 1899. While on an errand procuring refreshments for his guests, Joh died of a massive coronary on August 21, 1907. His family continued to operate the hotel until it was sold to the Heckle family in 1916.
The Heckles doubled the size of the hotel. It attracted vacationers from as far away as New York and Philadelphia. Eventually, the hotel and nearby marina was purchased by Jim Walker in 1987. It has been used for weddings, honeymoons, and family reunions.
Remaining Birdcage Lights
- Prudence Island Lighthouse, Rhode Island
- Baileys Harbor Lighthouse, Wisconsin
- Waugoshance Light, Michigan
- Oleszewski, Wes. Great Lakes Lighthouses, American and Canadian: A Comprehensive Directory/Guide to Great Lakes Lighthouses, (Gwinn, Michigan: Avery Color Studios, Inc., 1998) ISBN 0-932212-98-0.
- Scott T. Price. "U. S. Coast Guard Aids to Navigation: A Historical Bibliography". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office.
- U.S. Coast Guard. Historically Famous Lighthouses (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1957).
- Wright, Larry and Wright, Patricia. Great Lakes Lighthouses Encyclopedia Hardback (Erin: Boston Mills Press, 2006) ISBN 1-55046-399-3
- Salmon River Lighthouse, Lake Ontario, Port Ontario vicinity, Oswego, NY: 2 photos, 1 data page, and supplemental material at Historic American Building Survey
- Selkirk Lighthouse Website
- Lighthouse Friends