Congressman Brian Higgins, Senator Catharine M. Young, and Assemblyman William Parment joined John Murphy, executive director of Chautauqua Home Rehabilitation and Improvement Corporation (CHRIC) and others to announce plans for reconstruction of north retaining wall at the site of the Dunkirk Lighthouse.
“The Dunkirk Lighthouse is not just a local treasure but a national treasure,” said Congressman Higgins. “This public and private partnership to maintain the lighthouse and surrounding site will preserve it as a great destination for tourism.”
The Retaining wall fell into Lake Erie over the 2006/2007 winter. Funding for current project includes: $105,000 from the New York State Community Capital Assistance Program secured by Assemblyman William Parment and Congressman Brian Higgins, while he was in the State Assembly; $2,500 from Lake Shore Savings Bank; $15,000 in funding through late Senator Pat McGee; $5,000 from the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation; and a $105,310 grant from the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Senator Young also announced an additional $50,000 for the project.
The lighthouse, built in 1875 and owned by the Dunkirk Historical Lighthouse and Veterans Park Museum organization comprised mostly of retired veterans, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Harold and Barb Lawson are the lighthouse keepers. Volunteers have maintained and operated the facility for more than 20 years.
The Dunkirk Lighthouse beacon, maintained by US Coast Guard, is still in operation. Approximately 20,000 visitors tour the site annually.