When most people think about the U.S. state of New York, most minds think about ‘The Big Apple’ commonly known as New York City. A few people may think about Niagara Falls, one of the most popular waterfalls in the world. A few may think about a small town in the Upstate region called Lake Placid, a small town that hosted to Winter Olympics, the same Olympics where the famous ‘Miracle on Ice’ when the United States Men’s Hockey Team defeated the Soviet Union and went on to win the gold medal. For those who have traveled across the state, it has many great small towns and many great historic sites like the Saratoga National Historical Park that preserves the site of the Battle of Saratoga which was the turning point of the American Revolutionary War and where a Revolutionary Soldier named Benedict Arnold fought and then betrayed his countrymen. You have the town of Jamestown, which is the birthplace of Lucille Ball, a woman who was the ‘Queen of Comedy’ who had a television show in the 1950’s. Of the many towns in the state, very few have ever heard of the town of Dunkirk.
What is special about the town of Dunkirk? It is a town in the western region of the state on the shore of Lake Erie. The famous site in the town is a lighthouse. Built in 1875, the Dunkirk Lighthouse shined the light for ships in the lake and for ships going into the nearby harbor. Today, it is part of the Dunkirk Lighthouse and Veteran’s Park Museum where they pay tribute to those whose served in the nation’s armed forces as well as those who worked the lighthouse and those who worked on the ships in the lake. If you are in the western part of the state of New York, the Dunkirk Lighthouse and Veteran’s Park Museum is a must see.
Some of you are saying, “This is nice. I enjoy lighthouses, and I enjoy places that pay tribute to our veterans. There is one problem. This place has nothing to do with the railroad. Therefore, I will not be visiting this place.”
Well, you do have a point. The lighthouse does not have any connection with the railroad. What is the point of visiting this lighthouse?
The Dunkirk Lighthouse and Veteran’s Park Museum consists of the grounds where you can see memorials to those who fought in the war, the lighthouse, of course, a small museum, and the lightkeepers house. The lighthouse is built into the house. You can climb to the top of the lighthouse and get great views of Lake Erie. Inside the house, you see rooms set in the way the lighthouse keeper and his family lived. Then you have rooms that display military artifacts from the different branches of the military. Among those artifacts are model trains. Yes, model trains. Well, they are military model train displaying cars that were used by the U.S. military. Encased in glass, you will see cars that carry tanks, guns, plus boxcars.
The Dunkirk Lighthouse and Veteran’s Park Museum is open from May to October. It is located at 1 Point Drive N. in Dunkirk, New York. It is a few miles from the New York State Thruway (Interstate 90), and hour drive southwest of Buffalo, New York, and hour east of Erie, Pennsylvania. Admission is required to enter the house and lighthouse, and the tours of the lighthouse and house are guided. The grounds are self-guided and open sunrise to sunset. Please note that that house and the lighthouse is not wheelchair accessible, and there are many steps to climb. You can get more information at http://www.dunkirklighthouse.com/index.htm. The Dunkirk Lighthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Now you have a reason to visit the Dunkirk Lighthouse and Veteran’s Park Museum. It is really worth the trip. Oh, they will leave the light on for you.