Description: In 1871, Pugwash Lighthouse was established on Fishing Point at the entrance to Pugwash Harbor and the Pugwash River. John B. Reed was granted the $1,195 contract to construct the lighthouse, which was built in a “schoolhouse” design with a square tower rising from one end of the rectangular dwelling’s gabled-roof. This style of lighthouse is uncommon in Canada, but was frequently used in the United States. The first keeper appointed to mind the light was Rufus F. Bent, at an annual salary of $200.
The narrow point of land on which the lighthouse stood was often subjected to erosion and flooding. A stone revetment was built along the bank in 1878, and various measures had to be taken every few years to protect the point from erosion.
The gallery deck atop the tower was rebuilt in 1880 so that a larger lantern could be used along with a more powerful optic. Around 1960, a new tower with an enclosed upper portion and skeletal lower sections was built on the point, and the old Pugwash Lighthouse was sold to the Mundle family, who moved the structure to their nearby farm.
Cyrus Eaton was born in Pugwash, attended McMaster in Toronto, and then went to work for John D. Rockefeller, before branching out on his own and making a sizeable fortune in industries related to automobile manufacturing. In 1929, Eaton returned to Pugwash and contributed money to rebuild the core of the village, construct a seawall, and create a community park. Following World War II, Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein, joined by several scientists, published the Russell-Einstein Manifest that championed nuclear disarmament. These intellectual were seeking funding to hold a conference on this issue in a location free from government influence, when Cyrus Eaton agreed to finance the gathering if they agreed to hold it at his home in Pugwash. The attendees christened their first meeting held in July of 1957 the Pugwash Conference, and the organization continues to meet to this day as Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. The group was co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995.
Visitors to Pugwash today can view the Thinker’s Lodge, where the first Pugwash Conference was held. The town is also known for its Gaelic heritage, which is clearly visible in the bilingual street signs.
Located on Fishing Point, near the end of Pugwash Point Road just north of Pugwash. The lighthouse is owned by the Canadian Coast Guard. Grounds/tower closed.
The lighthouse is owned by the Canadian Coast Guard. Grounds/tower closed.
Pictures on this page copyright Kraig Anderson, used by permission.