Be a lighthouse ‘keeper’ on Lake Ontario

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The restored Braddock Point Lighthouse, with a 3,000-square-foot keeper’s residence, is for sale

The restored Braddock Point Lighthouse, with a 3,000-square-foot keeper’s residence, is for sale

FOR SALE: fully restored and operational 19th-century brick lighthouse in New York, steps away from Lake Ontario.

Braddock Point Lighthouse was built in 1896 and is situated on 1.15 wooded acres on Braddock Bay, about 15 miles west of Rochester. “Coming up the driveway really is like driving into a storybook,” says owner Bob Thulin. “Living here has been pretty neat.”

The 3,000-square-foot Victorian keeper’s house has four bedrooms, 2-1/2 baths, two pantries, a parlor, billiards room, keeper’s office and three fireplaces. The circular driveway leads to an 1,800-square-foot carriage house with a six-car attached garage.

Thulin, who is 61, and his wife, Barbara, 59, purchased Braddock Point Lighthouse in 1986. Two years later Thulin got to work restoring the ailing structure. “It was habitable when we bought it but wasn’t in very good shape,” he says. “The former owners had purchased it directly from the Coast Guard. They sort of converted it into a summer house, with knotty pine walls, and green and pink walls. Actually, some walls were missing, and others were rotting. The place needed a lot of work.”

A retired electrical contractor, Thulin visited the National Archives in Washington, D.C., to look at the original Coast Guard blueprints for the lighthouse. “If I was going to do all of this work, I wanted to make the house as close to the way it was when it was first built as possible,” says Thulin.

For eight years Thulin pulled up floors, rewired lights and replaced structural walls. One of his favorite details is an octagon-shaped room he built that overlooks the lake. “It doesn’t match the original plans for the house, obviously, but it really is neat,” he says. “The porch [it replaced] was rotted all the way to the ground. Since I had to rebuild it from the foundation up I figured I’d do something special. Now, sitting in that room with 180-degree views of the lake, sunsets out there are phenomenal. For three months during the summer you can sit in that room and watch the sun rise in the east, move across the sky and set in the west without ever losing sight of it.”

Another detail about the property that isn’t completely original is the lighthouse tower. When it was completed in 1896 the tower stood 110 feet high. Today, it is 65 feet. “When the lighthouse was only 10 years old it already had some pretty bad cracks in the tower,” Thulin explains. “The government didn’t want to spend the money to fix it; the top two thirds of the tower was removed.”

The Coast Guard retired Braddock Point Lighthouse from service in 1954. The original Fresnel lens was removed. It wasn’t until February 1998 that Thulin completed restoring the tower and it was lit again with a 250-watt halogen lamp and plastic prism.

“The light is on for 3 seconds and off for 3 seconds,” says Thulin. “Boaters on the lake can see the light for up to 15 miles.”

Thulin considers Braddock Point Lighthouse a labor of love but says he and his wife are ready to move on. “We spend a lot of time on our 40-foot Pacemaker, Weekend Fever, and own property in Florida,” he says. “I like looking back at the work I did, and take pride in doing things with my hands. I took something that was in such disrepair and put it back to what it was supposed to look like. That’s a good feeling.”

Braddock Point Lighthouse is listed at $1.9 million. For more information call RE/MAX First associate Terri Granger at (585) 719-3524, or visit www.braddockpointlighthouse.com.