Fort Point Lighthouse (Liverpool)

Lighthouse Details
44° 02' 36'' N    -64° 42' 26'' W
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     This is a lighthouse to visit. Visitor Info44° 02' 36'' N    -64° 42' 26'' W    Google Map

Fort Point Lighthouse (Liverpool)
Fort Point Lighthouse (Liverpool)
This shows the de-commissioned lighthouse before it came into the care of the Municpality of Queens County.
Unlike many island light stations, isolation was not a problem but privacy and security was. As early as 1860 the lighthouse superintendent recommended "A board fence is wanting around the building to prevent it from being defaced and injured as also for the protection of the females who attend the light" (An interesting recognition of women's unpaid light duties!). Keepers at Fort Point also had to make due with very cramped living quarters. When first built the lantern took up the top floor, supplies and lamp oil took up the ground floor, leaving only a small room on the second floor for the keeper to live in. The first keeper soon moved out to live in town. However later keepers moved back into the light and a kitchen was built onto the side of the light at the turn of the century. But during World War Two, quarters became even more cramped as weather forecasters took over the tower room. The last lightkeeper, James McLeod, wrote in 1944, "this room we gave for them (for 1 month only) was not a spare room but the only room we had to use ourselves as living quarters. The results, we (a family of five) have been living in a small kitchen for the past four years."

Designed to help vessels on their "final approach", the Fort Point light had a modest range of 8 miles. Three brass oil lanterns provided the light, magnified by 12 inch round silver-plated reflectors. At first, the lamps burned seal oil but were switched to kerosene by 1864 and burned oil until 1951 when the lighthouse was electrified and automated. The old reflectors were so worn by almost a century of polishing that no silver remained on the copper reflectors and the light shone with a copper hue. They were replaced by 6th order Fresnel cut glass lens.

Fort Point keepers received an extra $36 a year to operate a hand cranked foghorn from 1901 to 1951. Another service until the 1950s was signal station warning vessels of approaching bad weather. Specially shaped drums and cones were hoisted on a signal mast to indicate the weather based on a standard code. The canvas drums were first stored in sheds beside the light and later inside the lighthouse itself.

Contributor: Dan Conlin
Sources: List of Lights: 1864 - 1989, Journals of NS House of Assembly 1854-1868, Parliamentary Sessional Papers 1868-1930, Canadian Coast Guard Dartmouth Records, Municipality of Queen`s County Economic Development and Tourism