Great Bras d'Or Range Lights


These towers were erected under contract by P.L. McFarlane of Baddeck for the sum of $1500.00. Both were square, pyramidal wooden towers that were white. The front light was the smaller of the two, a square wooden structure with sloping sides; it was referred to as being of “pepper shaker” design. This tower climbed to a height of thirty-one feet with the light set at forty-three feet. The rear light is of similar design but is much larger. It has the distinction of being the tallest square wooden tower in Nova Scotia. It climbs to a height of forty-six feet while its light sits on top, a high square wooden lantern, at a height of sixty-seven feet. On November 7, 1956 a major change took place when the duplex oil lamps were switched to electric and thus, increased the intensity of the lights. In December, 1957 in preparation of total automation John R. Squires was offered the job of caretaker for both lights at the sum of $150.00 a year. Three months later both lights were fitted with sun switches and battery operated lights were installed in case of power failure. At this point they officially became “unwatched”. One of the previous “keepers” from the front lighthouse, O.S. Douglas, took over the caretaker job from Mr. Squires on June 17, 1959 and stayed until caretaker services were terminated in November, 1969. In 1984 vertical red stripes were added to both lighthouses. More change came about in 1992 when pilots called for changes in the colour of the lights from fixed white to fixed green so as to avoid confusion with other lights in the area. In 1993 the lights were automated. These lights are still in existence and operational.

Architectural Comment

Buildings similarly designed - white, square, pyramidal wooden towers with the rear one being the larger of the two.

Contextual Comment

Not long after the turn of the century, in the year 1903, two aligned lights consisting of the Great Bras d’Or Front Range light (having a range of eleven miles) and the larger Rear Range light (with a range of thirteen miles) were constructed and lit on Noir Point, at the entrance to the Great Bras d’Or. The channel into the Great Bras d’ Or is extremely narrow at this point and these warning beacons were constructed to aid in leading vessels clear of the dangers of the Middle Shoal and Carey Point Bar on the west side and the Black Rock Shoal on the east side. The first keeper hired in charge of the front light was Malcolm McLean while the first keeper of the rear light was Alexander Fraser. Both men were given their appointments on Jan. 13, 1903.

  • Top
  • Click on Thumbnail to enlarge Image
  • Try Again