Lighthouse at Golden Hill will welcome visitors on Sunday for Christmas event

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 8 October 2022 at 12:44 pm

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Allan Kropf of Medina talks to volunteer Friends of the Lighthouse, who are getting ready for Christmas at the Lighthouse on Sunday.

SOMERSET – The historic 30-Mile Point Lighthouse will welcome visitors on Sunday for the last big event before closing for the season.

Located in Golden Hill State Park, the lighthouse will be closed on Saturday to prepare for Christmas at the Lighthouse on Sunday, sponsored by Friends of the Lighthouse. The lighthouse will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and feature a pulled pork dinner in the Carriage Barn, hot dogs, chili and beverages. There will also be vendors and a basket raffle at 3 p.m. Three wineries will also be on site.

Visitors will be able to climb to top of the lighthouse for spectacular views of the park and Lake Ontario, said Barb Larson, a park employee who leads tours of the lighthouse during the regular season.

Mike and Kathy Dreyfus of Medina are members of Friends of the Lighthouse, and Mike makes souvenir buttons and magnets to sell in their gift shop.

Mike and Kathy first went to Golden Hill State Park to cross country ski in the winter, and loved its isolation, Kathy said.

“Then our daughter was married there – a lovely, small personal wedding,” Kathy said. “They had decorated, had music and turned on the heat. All they asked was a donation. We’ve been a member of Friends of the Lighthouse ever since.”

Larson said the lighthouse will be decorated with simple things, like pine cones and ribbons, keeping in the style of how it would have looked when the lighthouse keeper lived there.

Spectacular views can be seen from the top of Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse. This is looking east over Lake Ontario. Tours of the lighthouse have ended for the season.

Oscar Elmer was the lighthouse keeper from 1947 to 1954, and in 1950 Allan Kropf of Medina spent the night there with Oscar’s son David, who was a classmate at Barker High School. He doesn’t remember what they did, but he is sure there was no television. He said it was a pretty cool thing for a teenager to get to do. He remembers it every time he visits the lighthouse.

The lighthouse was built in 1875 at a cost of $90,000 after several vessels were wrecked on sand bars and shoals at that location. Its six-sided lens was so powerful its beacon was visible for 18 miles. In 1885, the kerosene lamp that was the source of light for the beacon was replaced by a 500-watt electric lamp.

In 1935, operation of the lighthouse was taken over from the Lighthouse Service by the United States Coast Guard. Buildings were added, including a foghorn building west of the lighthouse. Beginning in 1875 the lighthouse was staffed by keepers and their families, who lived in apartments on the first and second floors.

The rooms are furnished today in period furniture of 1850 to 1875. The lighthouse keepers’ quarters can be rented for the night or week for up to six people. It was pretty booked the entire summer, Larson said.

The lighthouse was closed in 1958. Gears were dismantled, and a steel tower with an automatic revolving light replaced the mighty lighthouse.

Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse became the property of New York state in Golden Hill State Park in 1984. It was then placed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

A large celebration took place at the lighthouse in 1989 when America celebrated the 200th anniversary of lighthouses in America. In 1995 it was selected to represent Lake Ontario on a postage stamp. More than 5,000 people attended the celebration.

This is looking down the spiral staircase which leads to the deck and lamp of Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse, where they will celebrate Christmas at the Lighthouse on Sunday.

Another big event in 1995 was founding of Friends of Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse, a group which now numbers about 75 members. The Friends spearheaded successful efforts to return light to the tower after 40 years. Friends’ members assist the park with tours and fundraisers, and always welcome new members. They meet at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday of April through September and November.

Mark Keller of Norwood and his wife are lighthouse enthusiasts who found the lighthouse a few years back and returned to camp there. He is on hand this week to help with Sunday’s event.

Their attraction to lighthouses stems from the ability to be connected between the environment and being on the water, Keller said.

“Every lighthouse has its own story to tell,” he said. “And there’s always a great view.”

Friends of the Lighthouse and Golden Hill State Park are already looking ahead to 2025, when the 150th anniversary of Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse will be celebrated.

Information on the lighthouse Friends of the Lighthouse and park are available on their website (click here).