Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse Museum

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charlottegeneseelighthouse.jpgUploaded - July 6, 2006, Fred Amato Stairs.jpgThe staircase to the top, May 2009

70 Lighthouse Street, Rochester, NY 14612 [Directions]
Hours (as of February 28, 2010)
Saturday-Sunday: 1:00PM-5:00PM
from May 15, 2010 until October 31, 2010
Group tours can be arranged at other times
585 621 6179
<info AT geneseelighthouse DOT org>

Terrific lighthouse and museum located on the banks of the Genesee River where the river meets Lake Ontario. Located on the Seaway Trail, the Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse is a City of Rochester Landmark. It is also listed on the New York State Register and the National Register of Historic Places. The tower is the second oldest tower on the Great Lakes.

History of the Lighthouse
Rochester has a history of being a busy port on Lake Ontario, especially during the 19th century when it was considered the busiest port on the lake. It was important to have 24hr access to Carthage Landing just up the river near the Lower Falls and so a lighthouse was constructed at the rivers entrance.

Construction began in 1822. Due to low marshy conditions at the shore, the lighthouse was perched a few hundred yards back on a 3 acre bluff (purchased from settler Mehitable Hincher for the sum of $400). The new lighthouse was 40 feet tall and was lit by 10 whale oil lamps. In 1829, a wide "v" swath ([WWW]Pic) was cut into the trees along the shoreline to make the light more visible from both directions on the lake. Around the same time, to stop sand bars from forming at the mouth of the river, two piers were built out into the Lake Ontario.

In 1853 the tower was modernized by installing a fourth-order Fresnel lens that replaced the ten Argand whale oil lamps that powered the lantern.

After years of sediment filling the shoreline and marsh on either side of the piers the lighthouse a second set of piers were built further out into the lake and the lighthouse became even farther from the lake shore. A new beacon was eventually built on the new pier to replace the tower on the hill. The lighthouse was retired in the late 1890's.

History of the Museum
"Declared surplus by the U.S. Government in the 80's the lighthouse was turned over to the Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse Historical Society. The tower was relit in June 1984. In 1991, the site was deeded to Monroe County, which leases the lighthouse to the Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse Historical Society. The keeper's house and garage now house a museum and gift shop." (Flyer, Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse Historical Society)

Tours of the Tower are welcome.

In the area


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2008-04-03 12:32:59   In your item about the Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse you state that the light was last lit in the 1890's. This is incorrect. The light was officially turned off on Feb. 28, 1881. A new fresnel lens was found and installed in the tower for the Rochester Sesquecentennail in 1984. The light was turned on on June 18, of that year. My daughter and I researched all the lighthouses on the Genesee River last year and made a new display of many of the interesting facts we found. "FROM THE BEGINNING" —June Codding