Buffalo Main Lighthouse
One of the oldest structures on the Great Lakes and the oldest in Buffalo, the 1833 Buffalo Light is a beautifully resilient monument to Buffalo’s maritime history. It is the second of four lighthouses to serve as Buffalo's light. The base, up to the cornice, dates from 1833, while everything above it dates from 1857. The lighthouse is constructed of ashlar limestone and bluestone, and is one year younger than Buffalo itself (chartered as a city in 1832). The tower is 68 feet tall and tapers from a 20-foot diameter at the base, where the walls are four feet thick, to a 12-foot diameter at the top, where the walls are two feet thick. In 1914 the lens was taken from this tower to one built just behind the outer harbor breakwater. The breakwater light then became the principal, or third, Buffalo light. A fourth light, a 71-foot white tower on the breakwater itself, has been the main light since 1963.
It's scary to imagine that the Main Lighthouse was almost leveled about 60 years ago. Unused and deteriorating, the 1833 light was nearly demolished in the late 1950's. After much public outcry and eventual political influence, it was saved and later restored in the early 1960's. Further restoration in the late 1980's resulted in floodlighting of the tower's shaft and illumination of the cupola after a severe storm.
Visiting Lighthouse Pointe Park: Lighthouse Point Park is carved out of the Buffalo U. S. Coast Guard station, on the south end of the Buffalo River outlet, at the end of Fuhrmann Blvd. From the road, the park begins where the first lighthouse and keeper’s quarters were built in 1818. The park then takes visitors along the stone pier, originally constructed by private citizens in 1919, and then rebuilt after a storm nearly destroyed it in 1944. Along the way, beautifully designed plaques describe the history of the pier and lighthouse. A 2,000 foot path leads you along the Coast Guard station to the south and Buffalo River outlet to the north with a view of the Erie Basin Marina across the water. The park surrounding the light has several historic and information markers as well as some artifacts strewn about the property, such as the 1903 Bottle Light from the south harbor in Lackawanna, an anchor, and fog bell. I recommend bringing a wide angle lens if you're planning to take pictures as the area surrounding the lighthouse is small. If you're looking to make it a longer visit, make sure you also check out neighboring Times Beach and Wilkeson Pointe!