Teresa Farrell 2017-04-05 02:14:42
Today, visitors can take a guided tour of the grounds, led by enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers who tell tales of the lighthouse’s past. Located on the sunny southern shores of Lake Ontario, the Charlotte- Genesee lighthouse is a piece of living history that still shines today. Originally constructed in the early 19th century, the lighthouse has been in continuous service for nearly two hundred years, serving as a landmark and a guide for ships entering the harbor. The story begins back in 1803, during Thomas Jefferson’s presidency. The stretch of Lake Ontario that runs between Rochester Harbor and the mouth of the Genesee River had been used as a trade route for a few hundred years before that, by local Native American tribes, as well as the occasional trapper. It was in those early years of the 1800s that then-president Jefferson identified this stretch of lakeshore as an ideal route for travel and trade. He began to work on building up the shipping industry in the area, along with widening the harbor and channel to accommodate this new influx of traffic. It worked—soon, there were ships passing in and out of the harbor on a regular basis, and they needed some way to navigate. For awhile, lanterns were propped on tall buildings in the town of Genesee, but it soon became clear a more permanent solution was needed. When construction was finished on that more permanent solution, in 1822, the result was the Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse. Today, visitors can take a guided tour of the grounds, led by enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers who tell tales of the lighthouse’s past. The original lighthouse tower is the one that remains on the property today. Standing at 40 feet tall, with an 11-foot lantern room, the lighthouse’s stone tower set against the backdrop of sparkling Lake Ontario and the rolling grounds and gardens surrounding it creates a spectacular setting. Charlotte–Genesee lighthouse, photo courtesy Great Lakes Seaway Trail. Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse. PPhoto credit: John Farrell. Today, the lighthouse tower is open to the public, and visitors can climb the tower to get a sweeping panoramic view of the grounds and Lake Ontario. To enjoy that view, you’ll have to retrace the steps of the lightkeepers of yesteryear—literally. The top of the tower is accessible to visitors via a spiral staircase and a ladder, much like it was nearly 200 years ago. Follow your guide to the top, and you’ll find yourself in the lantern room, where the view is unsurpassed. It’s not hard to imagine what it was like for those keepers all those years ago. The lamp itself once ran on whale oil, which quickly proved expensive and impractical. It was replaced by kerosene, and then by a Fresnel lens, the popular invention that allowed smaller lights to reach further distances thanks to its exceptional reflective power and relatively smaller design. A new fourth-order Fresnel lens is one of the latest renovations the lighthouse property has undergone; while the tower and other structures remain original, there have been some necessary renovations over the last few years, to restore and keep safe the original materials. Recent renovations have restored some of the lighthouse’s original shine; the new additions provide necessary things like safety and structural support to the historic structure, but focused on maintaining the property’s style, specific to the era in which it was built. With the help of some old photographs that depicted the dwelling in the past, the lighthouse society was able to have shutters and windowpanes duplicated by an architect to the look of the 19th-century originals. The new keeper’s house was built in 1863, just a few feet away from the location of the original house built prior to that. The two-and-a-half-story structure used to be the place the lighthouse keeper called home; today, it houses artifacts and exhibits that paint a historical picture of what life was like during the time when this place was in its heyday. The contents of the museum are ever-changing; some highlights have included artifacts and exhibits on the history of the lighthouse itself, the grounds surrounding it, the beaches and harbor you can see from the top, and even the stories behind some of the ships that the light guided to safety, among other interesting topics. There’s also a gift shop located within the keeper’s house, where visitors can pick up souvenirs to commemorate their visit to this beautiful and historic spot. The Charlotte-Genesee lighthouse is open Friday-Monday each week during the summer; guided tours are available, and specialty group tours are available by calling ahead to make arrangements. For more information, including hours of operation, visit http://www.geneseelighthouse.org/. Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse. Photo credit: John Farrell. ROCHESTER/CENTRAL LAKE ONTARIO A Attractions B Boating F Food/Dining L Lodging P Partner S Shopping Burnap’s Garden Café F 7277 Maple Ave., Sodus, NY 14551 315-483-4050 www.burnapsfarm.com Burnap’s Farm Market S 7277 Maple Ave., Sodus, NY 14551 315-483-4050 585-269-4568 www.burnapsfarm.com Burnap’s Bed & Breakfast and Beyond L 7094 Lake Road, Sodus, NY 14551 585-820-1114 Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse A 70 Lighthouse St., Rochester, NY 14612 585-621-6179 www.geneseelighthouse.org Cherry Grove Campground L 12669 Ridge Rd., Wolcott, NY 14590 315-594-8320 www.cherrygrovecampground.com The Country Store S 10204 Roosevelt Highway Lyndonville, NY 14098 585-765-1049 Genesee Country Inn Bed & Breakfast L 948 George St., Mumford, NY 14511 585-538-2500 www.geneseecountryinn.com George Eastman Museum A 900 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607 585-271-3361 www.eastman.org Lake Bluff Campground & Country Store LS 7150 Garner Rd., Wolcott, NY 14590 315-587-4517 www.lakebluffcampground.com Lukacs Pottery S 7060 State Rte. 14, Sodus Point NY 14555 315-483-4357 www.lukacspottery.com Maxwell Creek Inn Bed & Breakfast L 7563 Lake Rd., Sodus, NY 14551 315-483-2222 www.maxwellcreekinn-bnb.com Mid-Lakes Erie Macedon Marina B 1125 Marina Parkway, Macedon, NY 13152 315-986-3011 www.macedonmarina.com National Museum of Play at The Strong A One Manhattan Square, Rochester NY 14607 585-263-2700 www.museumofplay.org Oak Orchard Lighthouse Museum A 14357 Ontario St., Kent NY 14477 585-682-4552 www.oakorchardlighthouse.org Rochester International Jazz Festival A www.rochesterjazz.com Sodus Bay Lighthouse Museum A 7606 North Ontario St., Sodus Point NY 14555 315-483-4936 www.sodusbaylighthouse.org South Shore RV Park L 7867 Lake Rd., Sodus Point, NY 14555 315-483-8649 www.southshorervpark.com Webster Arboretum A 1700 Schlegel Rd., Webster, NY 14580 585-234-4622 www.websterarboretum.org Webster Museum and Historical Society A 18 Lapham Park, Webster, NY 14580 585-265-3308 www.webstermuseum.org Williamson-Pultneyville Historical Society A 4130 Mill St., Pultneyville, NY 14538 315-589-9892 www.w-phs.org Sodus Bay. Photo credit: John Farrell.
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