Oak Orchard Lighthouse helped usher in new era of giving

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 June 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – The Oak Orchard Lighthouse was built in 2010 at Point Breeze next to the Oak Orchard Harbor. It will be included in the International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend on Aug. 17-18.

POINT BREEZE – I climbed to top of the Oak Orchard Lighthouse yesterday for the first after the party in honor of Point Breeze winning the “Ultimate Fishing Town.”

The lighthouse was constructed in 2010, following a dedicated fund-raising effort for nearly a decade. It’s not a massive stone lighthouse like the one in Barker, but I think the new wooden lighthouse is a great symbol of hope. The lighthouse project was the second in this generation in Orleans County that rallied community dollars to build something new. It followed the Cornell Cooperative Extension’s campaign for a new education enter.

I think the Extension and Lighthouse projects encouraged Swan Library and Hospice of Orleans County to go public with their new projects – the new library in Albion and the hospice residence, which both opened last year.

Visitors are welcome to climb the stairs to reach the top of the 35-foot structure.

The new lighthouse topped $200,000. That project, and the community support to make it happen, has me optimistic we can rally support for a bronze statue in Albion in honor of the quarrymen who built these canal towns.

The 35-foot lighthouse is a replica to one that toppled in 1916 after a storm. The Oak Orchard Lighthouse has become an iconic symbol for the county and the Point. It is featured on the cover of the county’s new tourism guide.

The site includes a small museum and gift shop. Visitors are welcome to climb the stairs to reach the top of the lighthouse. An LED light is on at night from April 1 to Nov. 1.

Volunteers staff the site on Friday evenings, Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The site is available for other events. To schedule a tour or for other information, contact volunteer Larry Albanese at (585) 230-7829.

The lighthouse includes a modern LED light that is lit at night from April 1 to Nov. 1.