Charlotte Genesee Lighthouse

This street along the waterfront was named “River Street” in 1815. In the mid-1800s, some fugitive slaves left the U.S. from near this location, hidden aboard steamers bound for Canada.  They were aided by Underground Railroad Conductors, who would help them make it to Rochester, sometimes via the Erie Canal.  There were several buildings located nearby where escaped slaves were hidden.  These include the customs house, which was located at the corner of Latta and River Street, and the George Latta House, which became a hotel in 1849 and burned down in the 1940s. 

Up the bluff on the west bank of the river, you can see the Charlotte Genesee Lighthouse.   The white stone tower, built in 1822, is 40 feet tall.  It was originally lit with 10 lamps fueled by whale oil. The light was turned off in 1881.  By then, it was far from the shore of Lake Ontario, because the sand accumulating along the piers, which were built at the mouth of the river fifty years earlier, caused the shoreline to move north.  Today, there’s a modern light beacon at the far end of the Charlotte Pier.

The Charlotte Genesee lighthouse, America’s oldest surviving lighthouse on Lake Ontario, is now a museum.   There’s a webcam near the top – tap the link and you might just see yourself in the picture. To see the view from the lighthouse, tap this link

Download the free Tour Blend app, or tap the photo below for a free audio-narrated tour which takes you around Ontario Beach Park and along the Genesee River in the Charlotte neighborhood of Rochester.

Tap this graphic for a free, audio-guided tour of Ontario Beach and the Genesee River at Charlotte

Charlotte is located at the northern end of the Genesee Riverway Trail, a scenic multi-use trail which runs through Rochester from Lake Ontario to the Erie Canal.  It is a designated National Recreational Trail, and connects to both the statewide Erie Canal Heritage Trail and the Genesee Valley Greenway Trail, which continues south along the Genesee River.

There are many parks and historic districts along the Genesee Riverway Trail.

This website was created by the Genesee River Alliance. Be the first to learn about events and activities along the river by signing up for the Genesee River Alliance Enews.