The first lighthouse in Oswego was built at Fort Ontario in
1822. Increased commercial traffic in Lake Ontario
demonstrated the need for a new lighthouse, and in 1836 an
octagonal gray tower was built at the end of the west pier
leading to the harbor. The Inner Harbor Light
housed a third-order
Fresnel lens with a fixed light which could be seen for
In 1869 the tower height was increased by 25 feet. In 1880, a
second breakwater was built and the Outer Harbor Light was built at
the end of the breakwater. The Inner Harbor Light was removed in the
1920's when grain elevators built at the site obstructed the light.
A new lighthouse was constructed at the end of the pier in
1934 on the site of the Outer Harbor Light,
and still stands today. The tower originally displayed a
fourth-order Fresnel lens. In 1942, several Coast Guardsmen
lost their lives during a keeper exchange. There are stories that
the lighthouse is haunted by these lost seamen. Despite the
accident, the light remained manned until 1968.
In 1995, the lens was removed and replaced with a modern optic.
The station is solar powered, and the beacon flashes alternating
white and red for ten seconds each.
In 2006, the lighthouse was made available by the federal government.
As of 2006, the city of Oswego is looking into acquiring the lighthouse.
Lighthouses of the Seaway Trail (video)
Great Lakes Lighthouses - American and Canadian, Oleszewski p. 21
Eastern Great Lakes Lighthouses - Ontario, Erie, and Huron, Roberts, Jones p. 14