Thirty Mile Point is so named because it is thirty miles east
of the mouth of the Niagara River, which empties into Lake Ontario.
The lighthouse was constructed in 1875 to
mark a sandbar and shoal located offshore. Several vessels
have been lost near the point. A French vessel under
explorer Sieur de La Salle was lost here in 1678. The
H.M.S. Ontario, carrying British troops and an army
payroll of $15,000, sank here in 1780. The Mary
went down in 1817.
The Golden Hill area most likely gets its name from the
goldenrod that once bloomed on an island off the point which
has since eroded away. However, some say that the name comes
from lost gold and silver from the Ontario and the
Mary. Daniel Cartright, a local farmer, told
neighbors in 1834 that he had seen men row up Golden Hill
Creek, excavate a chest, and return to their ship. He
believed it was buried treasure from the Mary.
The lighthouse is constructed of limestone, and is seventy
feet high. The third-order Fresnel lens, which cost
$3533.85, could be seen for sixteen miles. The lantern was
lit by kerosene until 1885, when it became one of the first
lighthouses illuminated by electricity. The residence was
originally designed to house a single family, but was later
expanded to house two. The addition, built of tan brick, is
clearly visible today.
The Coast Guard assumed control of the station in 1935, and
added a fog signal. By 1958, the shoal and sandbar had
eroded away, and the lighthouse was taken out of service. A
skeleton tower was built nearby to replace the light.
In 1984, the Coast Guard turned over the site to the New York
State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
Today, the lighthouse is the centerpiece of Golden Hill State
Park. The lighthouse has been painstakingly refurbished and
restored by the staff of the park. The park consists of 50
campsites, numerous trails, a playground, picnic areas, a
marina, and a boat launch. The horse barn is now a garage,
and the fog signal building is now a recreation hall for
In 1995, the Postal Service selected Thirty Mile Point as one
of five chosen for its "Lighthouses of the Great Lakes"
series. The stamps were issued in June, 1995. The stamp was
designed by Howard Koslow.
In 1998, a low power plastic lens was installed in the lantern room.
Today the light serves as a private landmark lighthouse to mariners.
Seaway Trail Lighthouses (2nd Edition), Tinney, Burdett-Watkins, p. 21
Lighthouses of the Seaway Trail (video)
Eastern Great Lakes Lighthouses - Ontario, Erie, and Huron, Roberts, Jones, pp. 19