July 30, 2022
A lighthouse was established at Stony Point at the eastern end of Lake Ontario in New York in 1838. One of the most notable things about the original lighthouse was its first keeper, Wiley Gilbert Nickles, who held the position for 30 years. Nickles had lost both his hands in an accident at the age of 19, but he performed his light keeping duties with the help of his wife and children. The lighthouse was rebuilt in 1869, with a square stone tower attached to the keeper’s house.
The last keeper left the light station in 1946 and the light was automated a short time later. In 1959, the navigational light in the lighthouse was discontinued when an automatic light on a steel skeleton tower was installed closer to the shore. The light station property was auctioned to a private owner in 1960. In 1966, the lighthouse narrowly escaped disaster when a fire started in a nearby barn.
In 2002, the lighthouse was purchased by Sherry and Willy Faust of New Jersey, and they have completed much restoration since then.
Jeremy D’Entremont is the author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles on lighthouses and maritime history. He is the president and historian for the American Lighthouse Foundation and founder of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, and he has lectured and narrated cruises throughout the Northeast and in other regions. He is also the producer and host of the U.S. Lighthouse Society podcast, “Light Hearted.” He can be emailed at Jeremy@uslhs.org