Bluff Point Light

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Bluff Point Lighthouse
Bluff Point Light on Valcour Island.jpeg
Bluff Point Light
Bluff Point Light is located in New York
Bluff Point Light
Location Valcour Island, New York
Coordinates 44°37′22″N 73°25′52″W / 44.62282°N 73.43116°W / 44.62282; -73.43116Coordinates: 44°37′22″N 73°25′52″W / 44.62282°N 73.43116°W / 44.62282; -73.43116
Year first constructed 1874
Year first lit 1874
Automated 1930
Deactivated 1930-2004
Foundation Dressed Stone/Timber
Construction Blue limestone / Wood
Tower shape Octagonal on Square House
Markings / pattern Red/White Tower on Square House
Height 35 feet (11 m)
Focal height 95 feet (29 m)
Original lens Fifth Order Fresnel lens
Current lens 12 inches (300 mm)
Range 7 nautical miles (13 km; 8.1 mi)
Characteristic Flashing White 4s
ARLHS number USA-065
USCG number


Bluff Point Light
Architectural style Italianate
NRHP Reference # 93000873[1]
Added to NRHP 1993

Bluff Point Light, also known as the Valcour Island Light, on Valcour Island in Lake Champlain was in service from its construction in 1874 until 1930 and was one of the last lighthouses on Lake Champlain to be named. It is now part of Adirondack State Park and operated as a museum by the Clinton County Historical Association, an affiliate of the Adirondack Coast Cultural Alliance (ACCA).[2]

Bluff Point Light, for which the United States Congress approved $15,000 in funding in 1870,[3] with a base of blue limestone, stands more than 90 feet (27 m) above the shore. The grounds also include a wooden shed (which has since collapsed and was removed), a cistern and a privy.[4] For almost sixty years, the lighthouse and its fifth order Frensel lens guided ships through the channel between Valcour Island and New York State.[5] As was the case with many other lighthouses, the lighthouse keeper for Bluff Point Light was a disabled Civil War veteran, Major William Herwerth, who worked at the lighthouse from 1876 until 1881 when he died while on duty. In an unusual position for a woman at that time, Herwerth's wife Mary was given command of the lighthouse, which she maintained until 1902.[3]

In 1930, the lighthouse ceased operation when a steel tower with an automated light was built to the south of the lighthouse, rendering the lighthouse obsolete.[6] The lighthouse remained unlit until 2002 when the United States Coast Guard lit it in August 2002,[7] although it was not officially put back into service until 2004.[6]

After the lighthouse was taken out of service, it was purchased by a dentist from Massachusetts who used it as a summer residence.[3] In the 1980s, the lighthouse became a part of Adirondack State Park and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has held the deed to the house since 1986 and pays for all maintenance. Since that time, the Clinton County Historical Association worked to restore the lighthouse and preserve it as a museum.[3] In 1999, the Association was given an Adirondack Architectural Heritage Award for their stewardship of the lighthouse.[8]


  1. ^ "Valcour Island Lighthouse". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 
  2. ^ "Members". Adirondack Coast Cultural Alliance. Retrieved 2016-06-28. 
  3. ^ a b c d Christine Thompson. "Navigating Lake Champlain". All Points North. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 
  4. ^ "Bluff Point Light (Valcour Island)". Inventory of Historic Light Stations: New York State Lighthouses. National Park Service. 2005-02-02. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 
  5. ^ James P. Millard (2003). "Bluff Point Lighthouse". America's Historic Lakes. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 
  6. ^ a b "The Bluff Point Lighthouse at Valcour Island". Clinton County Historical Association. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 
  7. ^ "Champlain Lighthouse is Lit Again". The Rutland Herald. 2002-08-09. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 
  8. ^ "Past AARCH Awardees". Adirondack Architectural Heritage. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 

Further reading[edit]

  • 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

External links[edit]