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Tibbetts Point Lighthouse

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Built in 1854, this historic lighthouse rises 69 feet, or 21 metres above the water. It is one of the few remaining lighthouses in the United States to use the Fresnel Lens, which was created back to the mid 1700’s.

Tibbetts Point Lighthouse has welcomed sailors to the 1000 Islands since 1854. This historic building has gone through extensive renovations over the past decades, and has been converted into a spectacular hostel. It's located in Cape Vincent, which was settled by 17th century French explorers, and became an armed camp during the War of 1812. At one time Napoleon Bonaparte wanted to move to Cape Vincent, and even had a house built for him should he ever escape exile from the South Atlantic.

History

  • Capt. John Tibbetts of Troy, NY gave 3 acres of his 600 acres to the Federal Government to establish a Lighthouse. In 1827 the first Tower and Keeper's Quarters were built.  
  • In 1854 the first tower was replaced by the present circular one. This also marked the installation of the Fresnel Lens -- which is still in operation.
  • A fog whistle was added in 1896. It was replaced with an air-diaphone in 1927 operated by a diesel engine with automatically timed blasts. 
  • In 1939 the U.S. Coast Guard assumed lighthouse duties until 1981 when the light was automated and serviced out of Oswego, NY.
  • Lighthouse quarters became a Youth Hostel in 1984.
  • 1988 Tibbetts Point Lighthouse Society is formed.
  • 1991 was a big year for Tibbetts Point Lighthouse. Not only did the Town of Cape Vincent acquire it from the Dept. of the Interior, but the Lighthouse Quarters became Hostelling International (AYH).
  • In 1993 the Visitors' Center was built by the Town of Cape Vincent.
  • 1998 marked the opening of the renovated Fog Signal building to the public.
  • Since 1999, the Tibbetts Point Lighthouse Society has funded numerous major renovations inside and outside.

What You'll See

Tibbetts Point Lighthouse has been convereted into a hostel.  Hostel occupies a spectacular point overlooking Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Hostellers stay in the 1920s lighthouse keeper’s home, located right next door to the iconic Tibbetts Point Lighthouse. Guests enjoy the large waterfront lawn for relaxing, watching ships pass by on the St. Lawrence Seaway, cooking supper on the grill, and enjoying beautiful sunsets over the water, 

Nearby attractions include scenic state parks, boat rides that meander among the Thousand Islands, and historic Sacketts Harbor. Bring your passport! Take Horne’s ferry from Cape Vincent to Wolfe Island; it’s an easy drive or bike ride across the island to the Kingston Ontario ferry. Or cross the Thousand Islands International Bridge into Canada.