Craighill Channel Upper Range Front Lighthouse


In 1885, nearly ten years after the completion of the Craighill Channel Lower Range Lights, money was requested to construct another set of range lights to mark the new cut-off channel that connected the Craighill and Brewerton Channels. This cutoff also shortened the route by several miles. Construction of the upper and rear range lights were constructed simultaneously and built at a total cost of $25,000, much less than the $45,000 price to construct the lower range lights. Construction of both lights began in September 1885 and both lights were exhibited for the first time on January 15, 1886. Both structures were equipped with fixed white lights. The height of the front light is 15 feet above mean water, while the height of the rear light is 64 feet above mean water. Both lights were completed and in operation in less than six months.

The front light is a 25-foot tall, 12-foot square brick structure with truncated corners and a pyramid-shaped roof that is equipped with a ventilator ball. It sits on a 30-foot square stone masonry foundation pier where the rear light of the North Point Range Lights was originally located. The structure is painted in three equal horizontal bands, two upper and lower red and one white band in the middle.

The keeper’s dwelling was located onshore and connected by a 350-foot-long wooden bridge. Extensive work was done to the keeper’s dwelling in 1890, and just three years later in 1893, a storm washed the wooden bridge away. Rather than build another structure, the keeper’s house was abandoned, and the keeper moved into the 12-foot square lighthouse. One can only imagine how cramped the living conditions were, so the light was relocated to the outside of the tower. A small boat was provided so the keeper could travel back and forth to shore.

In 1914, the front light was automated after the installation of an acetylene light. Frederick Burmeister was keeper from 1888-1914, a total of 26 years. After automation, Keeper Burmeister was listed as a custodian of the light, receiving an annual salary of one dollar. In 1929 the front light was electrified and supplied with power from Fort Howard through a 650-foot-long submarine cable. The light was then changed from a fixed white to a fixed red light.

Located just off North Point in Fort Howard. It is accessible only by boat.  The old Ft Howard VA Medical Center is closed and the property not open to the public.  The site and tower closed to the public.

Head Keepers:  John B. Lewis (1886), George F. Culleton (1886), George W. Brock (1886), Charles Robinson (1886 – 1888), Frederick Burmeister (1888 – 1914)

Assistants:  Isaac J. Allen (1894), Frederick W.M. Burmeister (1895 – at least 1913)

Updated 5/29/2019




GPS: 39.1971,-76.4482


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