Rock Island Lighthouse is located in the Thousand Islands
about 4.5 miles northeast of Clayton, Jefferson County,
New York, off of Fisher's Landing. Originally commissioned
in 1847, it is one of six lights put up along the St. Lawrence
River to guide traffic to and from Lake Ontario through
the waterway. The Rock Island station is the best preserved,
as all of its structures still survive. It was refitted
in 1855, rebuilt in 1882, and moved in 1903. The light was
closed in 1955 after more a century of service. Today, the
lighthouse and island are maintained by the New York State
Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation,
and while only accessible by private boat, the grounds are
open for touring and picnicking.
The Rock Island Lighthouse Historical &
Memorial Association was organized on 31 May
2000 by Mark A. Wentling, a descendant of an early keeper,
who wanted to learn more about the station and the people
who tended it. Its goals are: to record the lives
and genealogies of the keepers, to document and publicize the history of the
station, to participate in the
preservation of its grounds and structures, and to facilitate visits
to the island.
Membership is free and open to anyone with an interest in
the light or its keepers.