The original lighthouse consisted of just the small square front portion of the present structure, which in 1870 was described as "of the greatest importance to the trade of the port." Three brass oil lanterns, magnified by 12-inch, silver-plated reflectors combined to produce a light that had a range of eight miles.
The early keepers had only a small room on the second floor to use as a residence as the top floor was devoted to the light, and supplies were kept on the ground floor. The cramped quarters prompted the first keeper, Samuel Sellon, to live in town, but subsequent keepers resided in the lighthouse. A dwelling and fuel and equipment storage shed were finally added in 1878, producing a rather unique architectural design.
Seal oil was first burned in the lamp, followed by kerosene oil, which was used until the light was electrified in 1951. The light was discontinued in 1989. A drum Fresnel lens that replaced the original system of lamps and reflectors can be viewed in the lantern room.
When the lighthouse was slated to be demolished by the federal government, the Town of Liverpool stepped in to care for its beloved landmark and took possession of the lighthouse and surrounding land in 1970. Located in what is now known as Fort Point Lighthouse Park, the lighthouse was opened to visitors starting in 1997.