THE VERONA BEACH LIGHTHOUSE ASSOCIATION Lighthouses are among the most prominent and recognizable man made structures on the planet. Lighthouses project more than lifesaving beams across expanses of water, they project an aura of steadfastness, dependability and safety. The majesty and romance evoked by these havens in a storm, shine as clearly as their beacons. Each lighthouse has a tale of it’s own – here is the story of the Verona Beach Lighthouse (also referred to as the Sylvan Beach Lighthouse). The need for lighthouses on Oneida Lake actually grew from the first spadeful of dirt excavated for the construction of the Erie Canal on July 4, 1817. From the success of that original canal spawned the Barge Canal. Construction of the Barge Canal started in 1903 and upon completion was able to accommodate ships large enough to sail on the open seas, thus permitting goods to be transported from distant Great Lakes ports through the canal, down the Hudson and out into the open ocean. That meant that lighthouses had to be built. The major lighthouse activity on the canal system took place from 1915 to 1918 on Lakes Onondaga and Oneida. Some reports say that all three Oneida Lake Lighthouses were built in 1915. However, it is believed the following is a more accurate accounting of the construction process. All 3 of the Oneida Lake Lighthouses (Verona Beach, Frenchman Island and Brewerton) were built under State contract 132, initiated in 1916. The entire contract was awarded to the firm of Lupfer & Remick of Buffalo, NY. The contract called for three concrete towers on Oneida Lake. These Lighthouse towers were 18-foot pre-fabricated exterior sections, barged from Buffalo, NY. By design, each tower was to be 85 feet tall, serving as a range series clear across Oneida Lake, east to west. The Verona Beach Lighthouse ended up at 84 ½ feet high and 3 ½ feet above water level. Though completed in the fall of 1917, minor work and the appointment of a keeper kept it unlit until the early spring of 1918. Today, a group of volunteers who are working on the restoration and preservation of this structure are looking after this historic and working lighthouse. Through a group effort of the Verona Beach Lighthouse Association members, the area has been cleared of debris and junk that had accumulated over the years. In fact, over 150 truckloads have been hauled away from the site. The entry door has been replaced, windows that have been vandalized will soon be replaced, a colored cement sealer will be applied to the base and a brighter flashing light is now working. Soon there will be accent lights on the front of this great structure. Our next phase is landscaping and a clean up and preservation to the interior. Verona Beach Lighthouse is on the list of historical places to visit and there have been many individuals as well as busloads of visitors. If you would like to become a member of our association – please send your tax-deductible donation of $5.00 annual dues to: The Verona Beach Lighthouse-P.O. Box 202-Verona Beach, NY 13162 / Thank you. And, you are cordially invited to stop by and see our progress at this point and time.