Earliest Lighthouse on the Great Lakes
This is the site of the earliest lighthouse on the Great Lakes; a lantern on the roof of the French Castle inside the fort. From that first whale oil fueled lantern room on the roof of the castle, the Niagara lights evolved to this classically detailed tower erected outside the fort’s walls.
The current tower was first lit in 1872, having been removed from the French Castle to allow for more room for officer’s quarters. The light was deactivated in 1996, having been replaced by a light beacon at the US Coast Guard Station Niagara.
For the early settlers of America, the Fort Niagara Lighthouse served to mark one of the few natural harbors on Lake Ontario and a vital portage route around Niagara Falls.
The lighthouse was automated in 1983 and then deactivated in 1993. Today, it is owned by the state of New York and managed by the Old Fort Niagara Association, which also manages and maintains Old Fort Niagara.