The Story of the Pier Lights

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inner sentinel 2

Originally, the Sodus Bay pier had two pier lights known as “The Sentinels” (see above).


The outer pier light was constructed in the 1860s.  In 1901 the stone lighthouse was decommissioned  and the pier lights became the main navigational beacons. We can only imagine how many  of the old mariners over the years rejoiced as they were welcomed into  the relative calm of Sodus Bay after enduring Lake Ontario storm tossed waves. In September 1938, the outer pier (most northern) was torn down and replaced. The following information about the northernmost pier light comes from Chris Trine:


An article in the Wolcott newspaper in September 1938, tells the story:


Nowadays, the one remaining outer pier light is one of the most photographed spots in Sodus Point. Photo courtesy of Edith Farrington



At some point the inner pier light was removed and ended up at the Sills Marina which is now the Katyln Marina. Here it had a somewhat ignoble existence until the 1970s. We pick up the story from a recent Facebook post by Cathy Contant:

Inner Light

Cathy Contant:

Continuing the conversation about the old “Inner Light” that was long-ago moved from the south end of the pier to a spot behind Sill’s, my brother George William Contant sent this photo he took while he was with the Courier-Gazette in the mid-70’s. Painful to look at for any Sodus Bay history buff, but now I’m curious about the bug on top.


Jah Gee:

The VW belonged to my husband, Bill VanGee, and was placed there by Stu Sill as a joke.
Bill said he totaled the car in ’72. It sat around awhile before Stewart Sill placed it on the lighthouse. He’s thinking ’73 or ’74..


James Taylor:

The bug is a 1967 model. One can tell by the “new headlight” and “old bumper”.


Tom Knapp:

I think the way it goes is something like this: Stewart S. Sill Sr. was in the crane, barge, heavy equipment business. He rented equipment to companies building the St. Lawrence Seaway. He also had two tugboats, the Suzann S and the Agness H, both named after relatives, located in SP to turn coal boats. Stew got the job to remove the old lighthouse when the USCG was replacing in. It sat in the upper yard for years. As kids we crawled all through both pieces. The inside walls had cupboards and were wainscoting. It was pretty cool! I was working for Stew Jr. & Dawn and about 1973 or 1974 we replaced a bunch of docks at the marina. Stew had us start a little fire to burn up the old rotten docks. After a while the fire got out of control and jumped to the old lighthouse! SPFD was called in and they kinda did a controlled burn after that! No charges! Oscar Fuerst and Harry Brown were probably deckhands when they moved the lighthouse. Stew Sr.’s nickname was Rocky because when driving home from Florida one spring he stopped his Cadillac to pick up a nice rock he spied along the side of the road. When he got to the Marina and we all saw what he had done…… well the name just stuck!