Buffalo Lighthouse Association, Congressman Higgins recognize National Lighthouse Dayby jmaloni
Announce public tours
Public can get an inside look on Aug. 10
Congressman Brian Higgins and members of the Buffalo Lighthouse Association celebrated National Lighthouse Day by announcing public tours of the 180-year-old historic landmark.
"This lighthouse is an amazing piece of Western New York's history, and the trip to the top of the light delivers amazing views of our great city," said Higgins, a member of the Congressional Great Lakes Task Force. "We applaud the Buffalo Lighthouse Association for their work preserving this national and local treasure, and we invite people to come out and see the lighthouse and surrounding waterfront views."
The public is invited to visit the lighthouse during an open house on Saturday, Aug. 10. Members of Buffalo Lighthouse Association will provide tours during the hours of 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. The lighthouse can be accessed by following the brick path adjacent to the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Buffalo Station located at 1 Fuhrmann Blvd., in Buffalo.
On Aug. 7, 1789, Congress passed an act regarding the establishment and support of lighthouses, beacons, buoys and public piers. This early acknowledgement of their significance demonstrates the central part lighthouses play in America's growth and development, from its inception to the present.
"This date is the anniversary of the first public works program ever undertaken by the federal government, as President Washington signed the ninth act of the First Congress to establish the Lighthouse Service in 1789. We're happy to be opening the tower to celebrate that date, and we hope to hold more frequent tours in the future," the Lighthouse Association said.
The "Chinaman's Lighthouse" is Buffalo's oldest building still standing on its original foundation. Lit in 1833, Buffalo Light is one of the longest-standing on the Great Lakes and is a landmark along Buffalo's Outer Harbor.
The Buffalo Light, like many others, had fallen into disrepair for years. To save this important structure, the Buffalo Lighthouse Association was established in 1985 to restore and promote this vital link to history, heritage and future. Restoration on the lighthouse, including masonry repair and stonework, was completed in 2011 with $170,700 in funding Higgins helped to secure through the New York Power Authority relicensing agreement funds awarded by the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp.
Due to post-9/11 security requirements, the Buffalo Lighthouse, which sits on land adjacent to the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Buffalo station, was not accessible to the public for more than a decade. Working in conjunction with then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, Higgins secured $6.1 million to upgrade and consolidate Coast Guard facilities, while opening up access to the historic lighthouse once again in late 2011.
The dedicated volunteers at the Buffalo Lighthouse Association are now focusing their attention on the recently acquired Buffalo South Entrance Light Station, more commonly known as the South Buffalo Lighthouse. This station dates back to 1903 and, while its condition is deteriorating, the Buffalo Lighthouse Association is bringing its expertise and commitment to pursuing the resources necessary to restore and repurpose the station for public tours with historic interpretation, educational opportunities for youth, and a facility for shoreline and bird habitat studies.
Pictured, from left, Buffalo Lighthouse Association member Jim Rzad, Buffalo Lighthouse Association President Mike Vogel, Higgins and U.S. Coast Guard Buffalo Sector Capt. Brian Roche.