The Buffalo Main Light

            The Buffalo Main Light is located at the mouth of the Buffalo River, and the Erie Canal.  Originally constructed in 1818, this light, along with the one at Presque Isle, Pennsylvania, were the initial, official lighthouses on the Great Lakes.  However, the original lighthouse was found to be too dim, and was replaced in 1833 by the current tower.   Following the investigation of the Federal Lighthouse System in 1851, many lights received facelifts.  The Buffalo Light was heightened to 76-feet and fitted with a state of the art Fresnel Lens.

            This light is also known as "Chinaman's Light" because of the pagoda-like wood tower used to monitor the harbor for illegal Chinese immigrants from Canada.

            The light remained in use until 1914.  It was restored in 1985, and is leased by the Buffalo Lighthouse Association.

The following is from a plaque located near the lighthouse,
and erected by the Buffalo Lighthouse Association


The oldest building in Buffalo still standing on its original site, this lighthouse was built in 1832 and 1833.  The oldest portion of the 44-foot tapering octagonal tower, the original lantern room was removed in 1857 and the stone casement window section and metal upper portions added to raise the light and make room for a fog bell.

Nicknamed the “Old Stone Light” in the 19th Century and “Chinaman’s Light” early this century, the tower originally used whale-oil lamps and polished reflectors.  Kerosene Lamps and a Fresnel lens were in use early this century, but the lighthouse was decommissioned in 1914 and the Breakwater Light Station became the main beacon for the expanded harbor.
A classic Fresnel lens was installed and the lighthouse re-lit to help open the first Buffalo-Fort Erie Friendship Festival in 1987.


  The 1833 and 1963 Lights

 The North Bottle Light & the 1833 Light

The North Bottle Light and the 1833 Light

The 1833 Light, the 1963 Light and the North Bottle Light
      View from the marina of the
          1833, 1963 and North Bottle Lights      

  A United States Lighthouse Service Fog Bell 1933
1933 USLHS Fog Bell

The North Bottle Light and a 1920's era Bell Buoy
The North Bottle Light and a
1920's era Bell Buoy

Close up of the Fourth-Order Fresnel Bi-Valve or 'Clamshell' Lens
Close up view of the 4th Order Fresnel
Bi-valve or "Clam Shell" lens

Return to the New York State Page

Return to the: Alphabetical Listing or the Listing by States

banner5.jpg (12941 bytes)