Golden Hill State Park Marina & Campground & Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse
9701 Lower Lake Road,
Barker, NY 14012
Visit the Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse on the South shore of Lake Ontario.
Enjoy a walk along a nature trail from the lighthouse to the mouth of Golden Hill Creek.
Boat Launching is available during season.
Reservations for the campground can be made by calling 1-800-456-CAMP.
You will find references to the Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse at other websites. For example, visit:
Golden Hill Creek crosses the town in the central and eastern part, joining the lake at the old Cartwright farm near thirty mile point.
A legend told by older residents relates that Daniel Cartwright, early pioneer, pastured his cattle in a field bordering the lake near the mouth of Golden Hill Creek. One day when going for his cattle, he saw a schooner heading toward shore. Soon the schooner dropped anchor and several men were lowered into a small boat. Mr. Cartwright concealed himself behind a tree and watched the men as they came a short distance up the creek. They left the boat, and equipped with shovels, they climbed a steep bank where there were three trees, and began to dig in the ground. Mr. Cartwright saw them lift up an object shaped like a box or chest which they carried down the bank to the boat, rowed back to the schoooner and sailed away. It was presumed by all who heard the story that the box contained a treasure of gold. For some time after, much digging was done along the creek bank by treasure hunters. However, the name Golden Hill apperas on an early map before this incident took place.
It was customary in the early sailing vessel days to pay the crew with peices of gold coin. On a vessel as large as the English “Ontario,” the largest on the lake at that time, with its detachment of 30 soldiers, several fur traders, a number of merchants, as well as the English superintendent of Naval Construction, and 16 cannon, it is logical to believe that a chest of gold would be aboard.
If there were any survivors, they would probably endeavor to salvage the chest and bring it ashore and bury it, until such time as they could return with another vessel after it.
The mystery may never be solved, but it is certain that Daniel Cartwright’s story is true as he was a man of integrity.
Another legend came from the late Wallace Williams, a grandson of John Williams, a pioneer who lived near the lake. He claims that in early days a party of French explorers camped on a small island which consisted of an acre or more of land at the mouth of the creek. Henry Atwater, a former resident, recalled that his uncle with other boys played ball on this island, which today has disappeared due to the receding shore line.
In the fall of the year, this island was covered with goldenrod blossoms, which in the afternoon sunlight gave the appearance of a hill of gold as the explorers approached shore. Mr. Williams believes the French were the first to call the spot “Golden Hill.”
-copied from “The Story of Somerset” by Mrs. Ruth Porter
Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse:
Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse was built in 1875 near the mouth of Golden Hill Creek to warn approaching vessels of a sand bar and dangerous shoals extending out into Lake Ontario. Prior to that, several vessels were wrecked.
LaSalle’s French vessel 1678
Another French vessel 1688
“Ontario” English naval vessel 1780
“Mary” loaded with merchandise 1817
Steamer – Name unknown 1873
The hand-carved stone of which it is built was brought on a schooner from Chaumont Bay near the source of the St. Lawrence River. It was loaded on barges and hauled ashore and up a steep bank by horses driven by George B. Hood and William Atwater.
The building, over 60 feet high, has a slate roof. The tower has a circular steel staircase enabling visitors to climb to the top for a panoramic view. Canada is visible on a clear day. The fresnel lens brought from France looked like a giant cut blass bowl, a precision optical piece which magnified the beam of a kerosene mantle brass lamp, to 600,000 candle power. It could be seen sixteen miles away. Originally it was turned on by precision clock work, but later was operated by electricity. Later repairs were made to accommodate two families, one on ground level and one upstairs. Each caretaker had a 24 hour shift. The light was checked every three hours and a weather log recorded every four hours. The engine room was scrubbed daily and all the brass polished.
In 1935 the U.S. Coast Guard purchased the lighthouse. This made it a Coast Guard station under military rules and regulations. Inspections were held by officers and everything had to pass inspection. In addition to daily scrubbing and polishing, grounds had to be maintained and a record kept of traffic on the lake. Any distress situations were reported. The light was turned on one half hour before sunset and turned off one half hour after sunrise. In the winter months food had to be stocked. If a storm blocked the Seven Tenths Mile Road the families could survive for a few days. A lighthouse keepers job was not simple.
As years passed and with the erosion of the sand bar, the lighthouse was no longer needed. On December 17, 1958, the lighthouse was closed, gears dismantled, and a mechanized apparatus was erected to replace the once mighty lighhouse which now stands vacant. On October 16, 1984, the Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse became the property of New York State. The Lighthouse grounds at Golden Hill State Park consist of 2-1/2 acres and includes a horse stable that was converted into a garage, and the fog horn building which has been converted into a recreation hall for campers use. There are picnic shelters, hiking trails and 50 campsites. A marina isi located one half mile from the campground.
-information provided by Lorraine Wayner, Somerset Town Historian 1987