An official lighthouse was built the following year not far from where Lewis' dwelling had stood. This government-sponsored lighthouse consisted of an octagonal lantern supported by a square tower set atop an oblong wooden keeper's dwelling. The new light was first lit on October 1, 1870. After a few years, the lighthouse had to be moved back from the bank, which was being eroded by the tides and wind.
A whistle house was built on Cape Capstan in 1889, and water was piped to the structure from a cistern in the woods to power the steam engine used for the fog signal.
The present Apple River Lighthouse dates from 1968, when a three-meter-square tower was built at the corner of a one-story fog signal building. Two new keeper's dwellings were also provided for the keepers, and the old lighthouse and a dwelling, which had been brought to the site from St. Martinís, New Brunswick, by scow, were pushed over the bank and burned.
After the fog signal was discontinued, the one-story building was torn down, leaving just the 10.5-meter tower, which has had its lantern room removed. The two keeper's dwellings were removed from the site in 1973.