The lighthouse was established in 1826 and the current tower was first lit in 1875. The lighthouse was automated in 1960 and is still operational. The foundation is made out of dressed stone and the lighthouse is made out of rubblestone encased in brick. The tower is a square shaped tower. The upper two thirds is white and the lower one third is natural and the lantern housing is red. The original lens is a third order Fresnel lens installed in 1857 and is still in operation. Its being still in use makes it a rarity. Only 70 such lenses are operational in the United States, 16 being on the Great Lakes of which two are in New York. At the entrance to the park property is the South Buffalo North Side Light, formerly located in Buffalo Harbor. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places as Point Gratiot Lighthouse Complex in 1979.
The Dunkirk Lighthouse is open daily except Sunday. Guided tours include climb to the top of the lighthouse, Veteran museums and gift shop.