Sodus Point Light
By Colt Edin

The current Sodus Bay Lighthouse has had an interesting history in it's 127 year career. From its conception to now its beauty has not faded in the least amount. This building shows its integrity and strength by the fact that it still survives today.

On May 26, 1824, the congress of the United States of America approved a lighthouse located on Great Sodus Bay, New York. Building costs were estimated to be $4500.00 and the government allotted that amount for the building of the lighthouse. The government selected a "scite" for the lighthouse but a petition signed by "inhabitants of the shores of Lake Ontario" and "masters and owners of vessels on said lake" got the government to change the location of the future lighthouse.

The government bought a publicly approved parcel of land from William Wickham for $68.75 and that is where the original Sodus Bay Light was built in 1825. It was of conical construction and was equipped with all of the necessities that A lighthouse of that time frame would need. In 1868 an inspection of the lighthouse showed many infirmities and other problems like leaky roofing and poor walls. This spelled the end of the original Sodus Bay Lighthouse.

Congress again appropriated money to build a lighthouse at Sodus Bay, this time to the tune of $14,000. The lighthouse is of the square-integral type made of limestone mined at the Kingston quarries. It is equipped with a fourth order Fresnel lens. After the new tower was completed on June 30, 1871, the old tower from 1825 was demolished. The stone from it was used to build a jetty to protect the shoreline in front of the new lighthouse. The new lighthouse was very similar to the lighthouse at Stony Point, also on the Great Lakes.

The lighthouse was discontinued and the lens was removed in 1901.

The lighthouse at Sodus Bay now called the "Old" Sodus Lighthouse was used as the keeper's quarters for the lighthouse on the newer pier that led to Sodus Bay Pier Outer Light. This entrance, after numerous improvements, is still in use today.

In 1977 the lighthouse was listed in the National Registry of Historic Places. In 1984 the lighthouse was given to the Town of Sodus and during the next year the bank in front of the lighthouse was rebuilt to retard erosion of the land around the lighthouse. During the same year the lighthouse was dedicated as a maritime museum. In 1988 the Fresnel lens was returned to the tower.

Thus ends the story of a marvelous lighthouse in a wonderful historic area. Throughout the times this silent beacon has both warned and welcomed ships and sailors to Sodus Bay, New York.

The State of New York maintains a wonderful scenic by-way called the Seaway Trail. Along this roadway are many lighthouses, all described in a pamphlet called Seaway Trail Lighthouses, which is available from Seaway Trail, Inc., Madison Barracks, 109 Barracks Drive, Sackets Harbor, NY 13685.


Click on image to enlarge

Photograph by Dick Wicklund

Photos by Greg Lortz

2009 photos by Dave Wobser


Location: Sodus Bay, New York. From Route #14 turn onto Ontario Street near the fire station.
First tower Built: 1825
Current light Built: 1870
Active: No

Open to public:

Yes. Museum.
Contact the Sodus Bay Historical Society
Call 315-483-4936
Click here for map


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