Posted/Updated by Bryan Penberthy on 2015-02-07.
The Island Street Boatyard was a dream of Tim Belstadt, a retired Wilson Greatbatch executive and resident of North Tonawanda. The plan was to turn five acres of property along River Road in North Tonawanda into a turn-of-the-century style complex for restoring antique boats.
The first phase was the construction of a 70-foot lighthouse and attached clubhouse, which was completed in 1998. The lighthouse houses a marine library. Plans for the lighthouse include locating a 4½-order Fresnel lens and lighting the tower as a private aid to navigation.
Over several years of construction, the complex would grow to seven buildings. Two residences would be constructed on the grounds, one for the boatyard manager, and the other, called the Greatbatch Residence, for temporarily housing guests. Temporary guests would include nationally prominent antique boat-building craftsmen brought in to teach their skills and craft.
The other structures on the complex grounds include a workshop, a 5,000 square-foot boat storage building, a boat shop and a 3,000 square-foot boat shed. The entire complex is surrounded by a seven-foot-tall decorative wrought iron fence covered in climbing red roses.
Other amenities on the grounds of the Island Street Boat Yard include docks, boat launch ramps, dockside picnic pavilion with full cooking facilities, bathrooms, and landscaped grounds.
Developers Tim Belstadt and his sister, Ami, along with her husband, Warren Greatbatch privately financed the project, which was estimated at nearly $2 million. Mr. Belstadt says that the project reflects his family's love for boating and a desire to do something for the community.
One of the centerpieces in the clubhouse is a 36-foot "rum runner," which was used to transport liquor from Canada into the United States during the prohibition years. Plans call for it to be powered by a Liberty Aircraft Engine, which many were converted to marine power engines in the early 1900s.
The Island Street Boatyard is attracting national interest according to the boat yard manager, Tim Belstadt. He frequently fields calls from collectors and enthusiasts and hopes to attract national events like antique and classic boat races. Other plans for the future could include a training program for marine craft restoration.
Note: The lighthouse is private property, please respect this and do not trespass.
Directions: While in the City of North Tonawanda, the lighthouse sits at the corner of River Road (Route 265) and Island Street. The lighthouse is privately owned and fenced in, but you can get easily get photos from the parking lot of the First Niagara Bank directly next door.
Access: The lighthouse is privately owned. Grounds and tower closed.View more Island Street Boatyard Lighthouse pictures