Crossover Island gets its name from its proximity to the
point where ships cross from the Canadian to the American
channel of the St. Lawrence River. The original light was
built in 1848, and consisted of a keeper's house with
attached dwelling. At the time, the
island was nearly barren. A rock wall was built on the
southeast end of the island.
The original lighthouse was poorly constructed and was
replaced in 1882. The tower housed a sixth-order Fresnel lens,
and the keeper's house was modeled after the residence at
The boathouse was built in 1869, and rebuilt after a fire in 1890.
In 1899, the light changed color from brown to the current white.
Daniel Hill served as keeper from 1909 to 1931. Hill served
at Buffalo Reef,
Thirty Mile Point,
Ogdensburg, Huron, and
Crossover Lights. He recorded over 400 rescues, including
three passengers of a biplane which crashed near the island.
The biplane exploded as the passengers were brought to
safety. Ralph Hill, son of Daniel Hill, recorded many
stories of the keeper's life in the Thousand Island
Sun and two books no longer in print.
A small sign on the lighthouse tower
today says "Daniel Hill Lighthouse."
The light was discontinued in 1942.
In 1960, the island was sold as surplus property.
Today, the light has been replaced by a nearby skeleton
light, and is a private residence. The tower, three bedroom keeper's
house, and other buildings have all been carefully preserved
by the owners. In 2001, the island was put up for sale by
the Dutchers, who have owned the island since 1969.
Hopefully the new owners will maintain the island as
well as the Dutchers have.
Seaway Trail Lighthouses (2nd Edition), Burdette-Watkins, p. 47
Lighthouses of the Seaway Trail (video)
Great Lakes Lighthouses - American and Canadian, Oleszewski, p. 25
Watertown Times May 27, 2001