Monday, December 14, 2009

Olcott Light, NY

In the 1870s, piers were constructed on either side of Eighteen Mile Creek, so named because of its location eighteen miles east of the Niagara River, to form a protected Harbor at Olcott. Each pier extended over 800 feet into Lake Ontario, and the end of the western pier was marked in 1873 with a square, pyramidal tower built of wood.

Olcott was a port of entry, and ships from Canada would regularly offload grain there to be shipped to Rochester and Oswego. The port was staffed with a custom inspector, and a lighthouse keeper. R.M. Mathews served as a keeper for several years and was known for always wearing his uniform while on duty. Around 1930, the lighthouse, no longer needed, was relocated to a local yacht club. The tower slowly deteriorated over the years until about 1963 when the club decided the tower could not be restored and dismantled it.

Olcott, once a popular lakeside resort, is experiencing a rebirth, and the lighthouse was not the only historic icon to return to the city in 2003. A separate group had spent thee years raising funds to purchase and refurbish a 1928 Herschell-Spillman carousel to replace one that was part of the former Olcott Amusement Park. Besides the carousel, vintage rocket-ship, boat, car, and fighter-plane rides were also operational in 2004 as part of the children’s Olcott Beach Carousel Park. Rides on the carousel are only a quarter and are enjoyed both by children and the young at heart.

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