Maugher Beach Lighthouse

Lighthouse Details
44° 36' 08.2'' N    -63° 32' 00.9'' W
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44° 36' 08.2'' N    -63° 32' 00.9'' W    Google Map

A complex of buildings gradually spread over the end of Maughers Beach including a fog alarm building (erected in 1906), a duplex house for the team of keepers (built in 1913) and various sheds, boathouses and wharves. It was a precarious location at times. Facing the open Atlantic, the beach took the brunt of storms, acting as a breakwater for Halifax Harbour. McNabs Island residents such as Colin Cleveland recalled watching nervously from the main part of the island when waves broke over the roof of the keeper's house "and on one memorable occasion, the Maughers Beach outhouse came floating by!"

Even the seven-foot-thick granite walls of the martello tower yielded in a brutal winter storm in 1931 which ripped much of the outer wall out of the south side of the tower. The tower was rebuilt, as were the ever-increasing wooden pilings and breakwaters which grew to contain the erosion of the beach which threatened to leave the light on an island of its own. Some granite boulders were added to the breakwater in 1957 and a massive rebuilding with boulders was completed in 1987.

The barriers made the light more secure in later years but despite the seeming nearness to Halifax, Coast Guard correspondence indicates that the station was considered an isolated post due to its exposure and difficult access in winter. Thus two keepers were retained for mutual support right up to automation. Without water, phone or electricity until the 1970s, they relied on rainwater collected in basement cisterns and periodic radio contact.

Contributor: Dan Conlin, Kathy Brown
Information Sources: Discover McNabs Island by the Friends of Mcnabs Island, Dept. of Marine Annual Reports, Dartmouth Coast Guard Records, Public Archives of Nova Scotia clippings and The Sea Road to Halifax by Hugh Pullen.