Coast Guard Station Oswego History

Situated at the east end of Lake Ontario with access to a very intricate river system, the Oswego area has always been a major port for central New York. On September 26, 1876, the U.S. Life Saving Service commissioned the construction of Station Oswego and it was located at the west side of the harbor entrance. On April 1, 1877,  a lifeboat station was opened on the Salmon River and on April 16, 1877 another station was opened on Big Sandy Creek (known today as Sandy Pond).

On December 4, 1942, after a brutal winter storm had pounded the area, the relief crew for the lighthouse were underway to the lighthouse. After swapping out the crews, the 30 foot picket boat struck the corner of the lighthouse break wall and stopped the engine. With winds gusting to 35+ knots, the harbor became a violent, confused area. The disabled boat drifted across the entrance and struck the corner of the east break wall causing all hands to be thrown into the frigid water. Two of the crewmen managed to swim to the detached break wall and clung to it. The station sent out another boat which failed in its attempt to evacuate the stranded men and left two more men on the wall. After successful evacuation of the four men, three were hospitalized at Fort Ontario and later released. A total of six men died. Of the six men, four bodies were recovered. Two were never recovered from the depths of Lake Ontario. The memory of this accident lives on in local myth with the reporting of ghost-like happenings at the lighthouse.

In 1956, the existing building was constructed to house Group Oswego, which encompassed Stations Oswego, Pointy Light, Gallo Island Light, and Gallo Island. In 1967, the Oswego main light was automated and the crew relieved.