Dunkirk Light

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Dunkirk Light
Dunkirk Light is located in New York
Dunkirk Light
LocationSycamore Rd., Dunkirk, New York, Point Gratiot on Lake Erie
Coordinates42°29′38″N 79°21′14″W / 42.49389°N 79.35389°W / 42.49389; -79.35389Coordinates: 42°29′38″N 79°21′14″W / 42.49389°N 79.35389°W / 42.49389; -79.35389
Year first constructed1826
Year first lit1875
FoundationDressed Stone
ConstructionRubblestone encased in brick
Tower shapeSquare
Markings / patternUpper 2/3 White, lower 1/3 natural, Red Lantern
Tower height18.5 metre Edit this on Wikidata
Focal height82 feet (25 m)
Original lensThird Order Fresnel lens
Range13 nautical mile Edit this on Wikidata
CharacteristicOcculting White 4 seconds
ARLHS numberUSA-248
USCG number7-3410

[1] [2]

Heritageplace listed on the National Register of Historic Places Edit this on Wikidata
Point Gratiot Lighthouse Complex
Point Gratiot Light Nov 10.JPG
Point Gratiot Light, November 2010
Area3.9 acres (1.6 ha)
Architectural styleGothic, High Victorian Gothic
NRHP reference #79001568 [4]
Added to NRHPDecember 18, 1979

Dunkirk Light, also known as Point Gratiot Light, is an active lighthouse located at Point Gratiot on Lake Erie in New York state.

The lighthouse was established in 1826 and the current tower was first lit in 1875. The lighthouse was automated in 1960 and is still operational. The foundation is made out of dressed stone and the lighthouse is made out of rubblestone encased in brick. The tower is square-shaped with the upper two thirds in white and the lower third left natural and the lantern housing in red. The original lens is a third order Fresnel lens installed in 1857 and is still in operation. Its being still in use makes it a rarity. Only 70 such lenses are operational in the United States, 16 being on the Great Lakes of which two are in New York.[5] At the entrance to the park property is the South Buffalo North Side Light, formerly located in Buffalo Harbor. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places as Point Gratiot Lighthouse Complex in 1979.


The Dunkirk Lighthouse is open daily except Sunday. Guided tours include climb to the top of the lighthouse, Veteran museums and gift shop.[6]

The Archives Center at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History has a collection (#1055) of souvenir postcards of lighthouses and has digitized 272 of these and made them available online. These include postcards of Dunkirk (Point Gratiot) Light [7] with links to customized nautical charts provided by National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.


  1. ^ "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: New York". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office. August 8, 2009. Archived from the original on May 1, 2017.
  2. ^ Light List, Volume VII, Great Lakes (PDF). Light List. United States Coast Guard. 2009. p. 38.
  3. ^ "ARLHS World List of Lights". Archived from the original on February 24, 2012. Retrieved February 7, 2009.
  4. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  5. ^ "Fresnel Lenses Still in Operation" (PDF). USCG. November 14, 2009. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 25, 2009. Retrieved January 10, 2009.
  6. ^ "Dunkirk Lighthouse Official Site". Archived from the original on July 29, 2010. Retrieved September 24, 2010.
  7. ^ "Smithsonian lighthouse postcards". Archived from the original on March 11, 2010. Retrieved January 10, 2009.

Further reading[edit]

  • 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.
  • Wright, Larry and Wright, Patricia. Great Lakes Lighthouses Encyclopedia Hardback (Erin: Boston Mills Press, 2006) ISBN 1-55046-399-3

External links[edit]

Media related to Dunkirk Light at Wikimedia Commons