Gilberts Cove Lighthouse

Lighthouse Details
44° 29' 42'' N    -65° 57' 12'' W
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     This is a lighthouse to visit. Visitor Info44° 29' 42'' N    -65° 57' 12'' W    Google Map

As early as 1783 there was shipping and trade activity into Port Gilbert by the first Loyalist settlers, Col. Thomas Gilbert, his three sons and their families. The movement of mostly wood products is reported from the early 1800's into the early part of the 20th century. This commerce saw many small schooners, called coasters, most built locally, travelling up and down the bay and into Gilbert's Cove, Plympton, Barton and the head of the bay. "The Lighthouse was built in 1904, when the vessel captains running up the St. Mary's Bay greatly appreciate the light, which they say should have been erected at least twenty years ago." (quoted from report in The Digby Weekly Courier, August 26, 1904)

The first keeper, William Joseph Melanson, born and raised in Gilbert's Cove, attended the light for nearly 50 years. In addition to the lighthouse that served as his family home, he had two wharves, an outhouse and a boat house (14 X 30 feet) with an oil room at the back to store the fuel for the light.. A small barn sheltered his animals near where he grew a vegetable garden. "Willie Jane", as he was called, with his wife and five children, had a self-built sailboat and rowboat. He rowed the latter regularly to the community wharf near the General Store and Post Office to purchase groceries. In later years, any one of his three adult children, Louise, Ivan or Joy walked out to the main road to do the errands and collect the mail. In 1950, when Willie was approaching age 75, the light keeper's job was officially turned over to his daughter Louise, who held the position until her death in 1972. The "Willie Jane" family was the only one to reside at the lighthouse and keep the light. The beacon was discontinued in May 1984.

Contributors: Lorraine Lovett & Kathy Brown
Photograph: Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Gilbert Cove and District Historical Society.
Sources: Lorraine Lovett