Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse
BARKER, NY - Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse, named for its distance from the Niagara River, is a beacon on Lake Ontario. Not one leading boats to shore, however, but one to guide them away from danger.
Climbing the stairs to the top not only provides a great view, but also a lesson in history. It once took two lighthouse keepers and their families to run the post. They worked 24 hour shifts. One day on. One day off. Climbing the stairs every three to four hours at night to adjust the light's timing, checking the fuel, and monitor weather conditions.
Working in the lighthouse also meant living in the lighthouse. This first floor residence housed the head keeper and his family. Just above them was the assistant keeper's quarters. Inside the first floor looks much as it did 100 years ago. Among the furnishings of a time-gone-by are nuanced details reflecting the lighthouse's design. You can see the shape of a lighthouse in a banister, and a key hole. Nothing here is lavish, but still nice.
The lighthouse, now a museum, is protected in Golden Hill State Park. The head keeper's quarters are open for tours, as well as the tower. But one space here is not often seen: the assistant keepers home. It is smaller than the main residence a floor below, but updated with modern amenities.
This space is not open to tours because its often still occupied. The three bedroom home is available to rent. An idea launched by the lighthouse's newest keepers - the non-profit Friends of Thirty Mile Point. They've made it their mission to preserve this 140 year old piece of history. And while guests staying here are not responsible for any light keeper duties, they too are a a part of keeping the light going.
The Light Keeper's Cottage open year round for reservations. You can book online through Reserve America, just like booking a campsite for one of the New York State Parks.