HAMMOND The fate of one of the oldest lighthouses on the St. Lawrence River remains uncertain.
Since 2011, the 1.5-acre Crossover Island, which includes a three-bedroom house, a smokehouse and an icehouse in addition to the historic light, has been up for sale. The property is listed on the website of Cornerstone Associates Realty, Williamson, for $539,900.
Members of the towns newly formed Economic Development Committee said last week they hoped the island could become an attraction for boaters.
Its a beautiful place, said Erica C. Demick, who co-chairs the committee. It would be great if it was open to the public.
The island got its moniker because it sits at a midpoint in the river where the shipping lane crosses the Canadian border. The U.S. government purchased Crossover Island and three other islands in April 1847 for $250 to build lighthouses. The Crossover lighthouse was built that same year to guide ships past a dangerous shoal near the Chippewa Bay-Oak Point sections of the river, state records show.
A house was built in 1848 as quarters for the lighthouse keeper. The original lighthouse began to deteriorate about 1868 and was rebuilt in 1882, state records said.
The light station was put out of commission in 1941 with the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, when more modern navigation aides were installed along the river.
The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation designated Crossover Island Lighthouse Station at Oak Point a landmark in 2007. It was designated a national landmark later that year.
The island was sold to John J. Urtis in 2002. Mr. Urtis, who could not be reached for comment Friday, said in 2007 that he filed for the landmark designation to preserve the place.
Mr. Urtis led American Light and Tower, a nonprofit aimed at restoring Crossover Island Lighthouse Station.
According to state Parks office spokesman Daniel L. Keefe, the benefit of being registered includes eligibility for various public preservation programs and services, such as matching state grants and federal historic rehabilitation and other tax credits.