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Kenrick A.Claflin & Son

1324. (lot 3 documents) Foundation for New Iron Beacon Tower, Dunkirk Light, Point Gratiot, New York c.1880.

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1324. (lot 3 documents) Foundation for New Iron Beacon Tower, Dunkirk Light, Point Gratiot, New York c.1880.

1324. (lot 3 documents) Foundation for New Iron Beacon Tower, Dunkirk Light, Point Gratiot, New York c.1880. This is a very scarce set of three original documents relating to the construction of the iron beacon tower used to range with Dunkirk Light, also known as Point Gratiot Light, in 1880. The light was first established on Point Gratiot in 1827, which acted in tandem with a pier head beacon (these documents) to guide ships to the safety of the Dunkirk Harbor. The Dunkirk Lighthouse was temporarily discontinued in 1838 when it was thought that the recently erected pier-head beacon at the harbor’s entrance would be sufficient for navigation. This measure was quickly questioned as the Dunkirk Lighthouse was the most conspicuous lighthouse on Lake Erie’s south shore and when paired with the harbor beacon formed a “range for running a most difficult part of the channel” leading to the harbor. Although the pier-head beacon was certainly needed for entering the harbor in foul weather, a report stated that it “would require an elevation of one hundred and twenty-five feet to overtop the bluff point on the northwest,” where the Dunkirk Lighthouse stood. The mistake was soon corrected, and the Dunkirk Lighthouse was reactivated. The main light tower was refitted with a 3rd-order Fresnel lens and lantern in 1857. In 1875-1876, a 61-foot stone tower and a beautiful Victorian residence were constructed to replace the original tower, which was threatened by erosion. These structures still stand today. This set of original documents were written by David Heap, Captain of Engineers and by C.W. Chauncey, Superintendent of Construction, 10th L.H. Dist. They relate to work completing the setting of the foundation for the “new iron beacon tower” being erected at Dunkirk Light Station. Document #1 (8” x 10”) consists of a letter on official Office of Light-House Engineer stationery, by Captain Heap to Chauncey directing him to proceede to Dunkirk, NY., to complete the foundation and return upon completion. Document #2 (10” x 16 ½” unfolded) consists of Light-House Establishment Form No. 10 (4 pages) for reimbursement of expenses by Chauncey on trip to Dunkirk, with itemized statement of expenses. Document #3 (5 ¾” x 9”) is a receipt on Erie Hotel stationery for ¾ days board expenses. Documents are filled out in hand and signed by Capt. Heap, Supt. Chauncey, etc. Documents are overall clean with original folds, attached together as original. Superb early lot from this well known light station, would make an exceptional addition to any collection or display. (VG+). $165.