On January 28, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued an Executive Order abolishing “the port of entry of Charlotte, NY, in District No. 8, headquarters port, Rochester, NY.” The order became “effective February 1, 1916, for the reason that Charlotte had been by the laws of the State of New York included within the corporate limits of and merged with the city of Rochester.”
The Democrat and Chronicle reported the news on Wednesday, February 2, 1916, with the headline, “Rochester Becomes Port of Lake Ontario through the Order of the President.” The secondary headline read, “Chamber is Notified That Port of Charlotte Ceased to Exist at Midnight January 31st.” The letter from the assistant secretary of the treasury, in Washington, to Mr. Roth, the collector of the port, stated, “As Charlotte, including Charlotte harbor, is not located within the city limits or the city of Rochester, and thereby has become a part of the port of Rochester, Charlotte is hereby discontinued as separate and independent port of entry in (Customs Collection) District No. 8.”
Thomas Jefferson, in 1805, had designated the Port of Genesee as a U.S. port of entry. The 40-foot lighthouse was built in 1822 and is the second oldest lighthouse on the Great Lakes. The port, however, primarily served to collect duties for the Customs District, including cargo moving to and from landings closer to the Lower Falls, which were informally referred to as the Port of Rochester.
Charlotte was an unincorporated hamlet within the Town of Greece until 1869, when it was incorporated as the Village of Charlotte (still in the Town of Greece). In 1916, the Village of Charlotte was annexed by the City of Rochester, resulting in the name change enacted by the federal government.