The Lighthouse, which is rumored to be haunted, was completed and activated in August 1838. It is one of three lighthouses in the Northeast that visitors can rent for overnight stays, and only one of four remaining lighthouses still boasting the original "birdcage" design. For more information on staying with us, please contact Abe Ellis, our General Manager, at 315-509-4208 or Cell Phone: 757-287-0426. Thank you!!
The Selkirk Lighthouse: Maximum Occupancy is 6 Guests.
Check in is at 4 PM and check out is at 11 AM.
Please, no pets.
June 20 - August 25
Monday - Thursday: $325 per night
Friday / Saturday / Sunday: $375 per night
August 25 - "End of Season"
Monday - Thursday: $289 per night
Friday / Saturday / Sunday: $345 per night
History Of Selkirk Lighthouse
The site, at the convergence of the Salmon River and Lake Ontario and which eventually became home to the Selkirk Lighthouse, was visited first by Champlain and the Hurons in October, 1615. The land north of the Salmon River was purchased from the Oneida, Onondaga and Cayuga tribes by New York's Governor George Clinton in 1788. The first permanent white settlement was established at the mouth of the Salmon River in 1801. Initially, the fantastic Atlantic Salmon fishing was the main economic attraction, while some settlers undertook farming nearby. Before long it became a haven for smugglers, particularly during the War of 1812. In the early 1830's, a government engineer determined that the harbor was deep enough to safely harbor 30 ships. On September 1, 1837, the Federal Government purchased the land. The engineers' recommendations started the development of plans for a lighthouse, complete with a Customs Office, and for the dredging of a channel along the Southside of the estuary known as Selkirk Lake, nearly a mile upriver at the NY State Route 3 bridge.
Jacob Gould who was the superintendent of lighthouse on Lake Ontario published an official notice on September 4, 1837 stating: " Proposals will be received by me at Rochester until the 10th day of October next, for building a Dwelling and Beacon Light House on Lake Ontario, at the junction of the Salmon River with said Lake in the village of Port Ontario, in the county of Oswego, in said state, of the following description, viz: - The dwelling house to be of stone, 25 feet wide by thirty feet long from outside to outside. The outside walls to be eighteen inches thick, laid in good lime mortar, and pointed in good & workmanlike manner.”
The local contractors who successfully bid the job were Joseph Gibbs and Abner French, although a local stonemason, Jabez Meacham, actually did most of the work. Abner French was elected first president of Pulaski on its incorporation in 1832, and was also the founding father and prime mover in spreading the Masonic movement throughout the eastern basin from Pulaski, where he founded Fellowship Lodge #288 on June 5, 1817. John Box, a blacksmith from Port Ontario constructed the wrought iron railings that both support the lantern structure and secure the platform around its outside.
The original light was identical to the one in service at Horse Island Lighthouse, a 14" diameter parabolic reflector/lamp system utilizing eight lamps and reflectors, showing a fixed white light for 14 miles. Four reflectors faced the lake and two were positioned on each side. This apparatus initially burned whale oil from a 24-hour reservoir and utilized a secondary frost lamp in particularly cold weather to warm the main lamp, assisting combustion in temperatures that would thicken fuel standing in the reservoir. The 1858 Light List reports that the lamp system was upgraded during 1855 with replacement of the reflectors by a Hains Mineral Oil fountain lamp, a single burner, and a 270-degree, 6th order Fresnel lens, 18" in height and approximately 12" in diameter.
Lewis Conant became Selkirk's first keeper on activation in August, 1838 Relieved by Lucius B. Cole on July 20, 1849 Charles M. Lewis assumed command on October 6, 1854 Relieved by A. H. Weed on March 2, 1857
Operating seasonally during the shipping season, keepers were paid $350 per year for 8 to 9 months of duty, then returned to their normal homes in the Pulaski/Richland area for the winter. The lighthouse was officially de-activated in 1858, although Coast Guard records describe its apparent conversion to Lake Ontario's second activated lifesaving station at the beginning of the annual navigation season on April 1, 1877.
- Designated Historic Landmark
The Selkirk Lighthouse was dedicated as a "Designated Historic Landmark" by the Oswego, NY Heritage Foundation in November, 1976, and elected to the National Register of Historic Places in March, 1979.
August 6, 1989 the lighthouse officially activated a Coast Guard approved photocell-actuated lamp with automated bulb-changer and is once again on the NOAA charts as a Class II Aid to Navigation.