The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), May 25, 1821

Full Text

Collector's office,
Sacket's Harbor, May 15, 1821.


Will be received at the office of the Collector of the Customs at Sacket's Harbor for building a Light House and dwelling house on the east side of the mouth of the Oswego river in the state of New-York, of the following materials, dimensions and description.

The Light House is to be of stone, the form octagon, the foundation to be of stone laid as deep as may be necessary to make the fabric perfectly secure, and to be carried up one foot above the surface of the earth from the commencement of the foundation to the bottom of the water table, the wall to be three and a half feet thick. The diameter of the base from the bottom of the water table to the top thereof, where the octagonal pyramid is to commence, is to be fourteen feet and the diameter seven and a half feet at the top, or floor of the lantern.

The water table to be capped with hewn stone, at least six inches wide and sloped to turn off the water, from the surface to the top of the building, the walls to be twenty feet high, and graduated as follows: the first nine feet from the foundation wall, to be two feet and a half thick, the next ten feet, to be twenty-one inches thick. The top of the building to be arched, reserving an entrance on the side to the lantern, and to have a stone cornice, on which to be laid a soap stone or granite stone deck, nine feet in diameter, four inches thick on one side of which, to be a scuttle, to enter the lantern, the scuttle door to be framed with iron, and cornered with copper, the joints of the stone deck to be filled with lead, the ground floor to be paved with brick or stone, a sufficient number of strong wooden stairs with a hand railing to lead from the ground floor, to within six feet of the top, and an iron ladder from the top of the stairs to the entrance of the scuttle with steps two inches wide, substantial plank floors to be fixed to the stairs on the joists of each story.

The Light House to have three windows, each to have eight panes of glass seven by nine inches, in strong frames with shutters and proper fastenings, painted with two coats of paint, and a substantial panel door three feet wide and five and a half feet high, iron hinges. lock and latch complete on the lower floor.

A complete iron lantern in the octagon form to rest on the platform of the pyramid, to be four feet six inches in diameter and four feet ten inches high, the eight corner pieces of which to be one and three-fourth inches square, above the platform, and two inches square below it, to run four feet into the stone work and to be there secured with anchors. The space between the posts at the angles to be occupied by sashes, which are to be of iron, moulded on the inside, struck solid, and of sufficient strength so as not to work with the wind, each sash to be glazed with strong double quality, Boston manufacture, excepting on one side where so much of the space as would otherwise be filled with sashes to be occupied by an iron framed door covered with copper twenty inches wide and four and a half feet high.

The top of the lantern is to be a dome two feet four inches high and covered with copper thirty-two ounces to the square foot, formed by sixteen iron rafters concentrating in an iron hoop on the top, which forms the funnel for the smoke to pass out of the lantern, into the ventilator, in the form of a ball, sufficient to contain thirty gallons, and large enough to secure the funnel against rain, the ventilator to be turned by a fan, so that the hole for venting the smoke may always be to leeward. The lantern to be surrounded by an iron balustrade two feet high, each rail or rod to be three-quarters of an inch squared inserted in the braces between the eight posts. The lantern and balustrade to be covered with three coats of good paint.

The door, sashes, window frames, &c. to be well painted, and the building white washed and furnished with two complete electrical conductors or rods with points.

The dwelling house to be of stone thirty four feet by twenty, one story of eight feet high, divided into two rooms, with an entry between; the stairs to be in the entry to go into the chambers, which are to be lathed and plastered; a chimney near the middle of the house with a fire place in each room, iron or stone mantle pieces, cellar under the whole house, with sufficient walls of stone, laid in lime mortar, twenty inches thick, six feet deep; the walls of the house to be twenty inches thick, laid up in lime mortar, with split undressed stone well pointed, and to extend two feet above the chamber floors, and whitewashed twice over; the roof to be rectangular, the boards of which to be joined and halved, and well secured, and covered with good merchantable shingles; three windows in each room of sixteen lights of eight by ten glass each, and one of the same dimensions in the chamber; the doors to be four paneled, with good hinges and thumb latches to each, and a good lock on the out side door; closets in each room, back of the chimney; all the floors to be double and well nailed; the inside work to be finished in a plain, decent style, with good seasoned timber.

Separate proposals will be received for fitting the said light house, within one month after it shall be built, with patent lamps and reflectors, tin butts for keeping the oil, and all the necessary apparatus in the same manner as the light houses in the United States have been fitted by Winslow Lewis; the whole to be approved by the superintendent of the establishment, or such other persons as may be designated by him - the hole to be completed by the first day of December next.

Persons disposed to contract will be please, previously to the fifteenth day of July next to transmit their proposals to the Collector of the Customs at Sacket's Harbor.


Collector, and Superintendent of Light Houses on Lake Ontario.

Media Type:
Item Type:
This was the first Oswego lighthouse and stood next to Fort Ontario. The lightkeeper's house still stands, being the home of the director of Fort Ontario Historic Site. It was built by Daniel Warren and William Cobb of Oswego in 1821 and remained in operation until 1838. It was sold at auction in 1841 and demolished. The first lightkeeper was Oslo Steele. A new light was built at the east end of the west pier in 1836 and served until 1838 when it was raised 25-feet and a stronger light installed.
Date of Original:
May 25, 1821
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Richard Palmer
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), May 25, 1821