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1818 Buffalo Lighthouse

First Light

Buffalo was designated officially as a port in 1805, but plans to deepen its shallow creek into a proper harbor were delayed when the region became a major battlefront and Buffalo was burned to the ground in the War of 1812. In 1818, though, land was purchased and a 30-foot rubble stone tower erected at the mouth of the Buffalo Creek. The 1818 Buffalo Light, with its nine-lamp chandelier, was the first American lighthouse lit on the Great Lakes. Soon, though it was deemed too dim and too often obscured by village smoke, so a new light replaced it in 1833 and it was demolished in the late 1840s. Few images remain; this contemporary painting shows the wreck of the lake’s first steamboat; survivors sheltered at the lighthouse.

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