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Carl B

Premium Member

Posted - 01/01/2020 :  06:50:35 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Happy New Year friends!

My newest project returns me to my roots geographically, but also from a modeling perspective. In the past, I've built many waterside scenes, including docks, wharfs and lighthouses. So, welcome to a scratch build in HO scale, of a historical spot back in my hometown of Dunkirk, New York. The Dunkirk Lighthouse and Keepers Dwelling.

For a better perspective- here's the location from Google Maps, beside the southern shores of one of the five Great Lakes, Lake Erie.

A traditional cone shaped tower was built in 1837. A third order Fresnel lens was installed in 1857 and is still in use today.

After the original tower began to crumble in place, it was rebuilt in 1875, and was clad in the squared off stonework visible today.

The attached keeperís dwelling, also built in 1875, is a High Victorian Gothic structure fashioned from red brick. The exterior is symmetrical with three large dormer windows, each with vintage wooden braces, adorning the north and south sides of the residence. The roofís gabled ends are decorated with boarding and brackets. The green shutters are original but are now plastic, and were previously on every window. A maintenance headache, all but the first floor units were removed permanently. I will not include them, because I prefer that look. The familiar red brick with white trim is quite boring, but that's expected in these types of structures.

The last "human" keeper occupied the house till 1960, when it was automated, and the light is still active today.

If interested, you can read more background history here:


The lighthouse is also listed on the National Register of Historic places. It has been carefully restored and turned into a nautical museum and souvenir shop, open May thru October. It was saved by a non-profit organization, and has not fallen into disrepair. Therefore, I will depict this model as it appears today .

Tours are available for a fee. I have been there only once, and it's worth every penny. Regrettably, I took only a few photos at the time.

I became frustrated trying to do some basic research. After contacting the Museum itself, they no longer possessed any architectural drawings or plans. They thought the Coast Guard had them, but the Coast Guard claimed they handed all of those over to the National Archives. Hmmm. In fact, the National Archives in College Park MD does have them, but require a professional researcher to be paid on site to do the necessary locating, copying and mailing. The fees were unacceptable. The Archives are in the process of digitizing all their lighthouse documents & posting them on-line, but they admit that will take years.

So I must fall back on many on-line tourist photos, brick row counting, known common values and personal judgment. In fact, Branchline Trains/Laser Art offers a kit called the "Rocky Point" Lighthouse, which is nearly an exact copy of the place...but I am not interested....

I shall begin this teeth pulling exercise next time....

Country: USA | Posts: 4234


Premium Member

Posted - 01/01/2020 :  07:47:13 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

What a fantastic subject for a build.

You KNOW I will be following your every step.



Country: USA | Posts: 4299 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 01/01/2020 :  08:43:51 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great modeling subject, Carl. I'll be checking in.


Country: USA | Posts: 33519 Go to Top of Page

Bill Gill

Posted - 01/01/2020 :  09:04:14 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Carl, Another neat project! My wife went to school in Fredonia and had gone to the shore of the lake a few times to watch/listen to the ice break up in the spring - but somehow always East of the lighthouse point.
She was surprised to see the lightkeeper's house in your photos.

Country: USA | Posts: 3288 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 01/01/2020 :  09:07:23 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great subject for modeling. The Great Lakes is surrounded by dozens of beautiful and unique light houses.

Mega Dittos

Karl Scribner
Manistique, Michigan

Country: USA | Posts: 12071 Go to Top of Page

Frank Palmer

Posted - 01/01/2020 :  09:15:14 AM  Show Profile  Visit Frank Palmer's Homepage  Reply with Quote

All right Carl, go for it.


Country: USA | Posts: 6162 Go to Top of Page

George D

Premium Member

Posted - 01/01/2020 :  09:27:09 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That looks like a challenging structure, Carl. It will be interesting to watch you build it.


Fly Army

Country: USA | Posts: 16935 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 01/01/2020 :  09:40:36 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
hot diggity dog! you're going to crush this build. your last light house was a mindblower....

Country: USA | Posts: 1733 Go to Top of Page

Michael Hohn

Posted - 01/01/2020 :  09:48:36 AM  Show Profile  Visit Michael Hohn's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Wow. You know how many times Iíve driven by Dunkirk on the Thruway and never stopped to see this?

Itís going to be a wonderful model, Carl.


Country: USA | Posts: 7461 Go to Top of Page

Michael Hohn

Posted - 01/01/2020 :  09:52:32 AM  Show Profile  Visit Michael Hohn's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Wow. You know how many times Iíve driven by Dunkirk on the Thruway and never stopped to see this?

Itís going to be a wonderful model, Carl.


Country: USA | Posts: 7461 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 01/01/2020 :  09:55:57 AM  Show Profile  Visit Bernd's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I'll be following along. I'm interested how an expert goes about building a model when all he has are pictures. An SBS for dummies like me would be nice.


New York, Vermont & Northern Rwy. - Route of the Black Diamonds

Country: USA | Posts: 3996 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 01/01/2020 :  09:58:03 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Make it so, Carl!

in Michigan

Country: USA | Posts: 7570 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 01/01/2020 :  10:07:13 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Looks to be another outstanding project to follow Carl. Looking forward to your progress!

Pacific Northwest Logging in the East Coast
Post count: 5000 posts added to below count.

Country: USA | Posts: 16151 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 01/01/2020 :  10:11:28 AM  Show Profile  Send Guff an AOL message  Reply with Quote

Carl, nice way to start kick the new year. I'm looking forward to following along!

David Guffey

Country: USA | Posts: 2142 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 01/01/2020 :  10:21:47 AM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
What Bernd said, though if you weren't starting it right now, perhaps one of us could visit with a tape measure and at least get the ground plan. I've spent the night in Dunkirk while traveling to one or another NMRA National in the midwest, but didn't know of the lighthouse.


Country: USA | Posts: 6903 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 01/01/2020 :  10:52:26 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Your project subjects are always enlightening, and I am sure this one will be truly spectacular.
A few years ago when my wife and I were doing more traveling, we always stopped at lighthouses along the NY shore. Somehow, we never went to this one.
Your presentation is a delight to read, and most importantly, I'm sure your build will be as beautiful as the original prototype is to see. I will definitely be following along. Very nice.


Country: USA | Posts: 4727 Go to Top of Page
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