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Port Greville, NS  Lighthouse accessible by car and a short, easy walk.Interior open or museum on site.   

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Port Greville Lighthouse

Port Greville Lighthouse was built in 1907 on a slope overlooking the town’s harbor at a cost of $790 by John D. Reid of Wallace Bay. The first keeper of the lighthouse, Ernest A. Hatfield, was appointed to his position in January of 1908 and received $180 each year.

Port Greville was known for shipbuilding, and one of the more prolific local companies to practice this trade was Wagstaff and Hatfield Shipbuilding, which was formed in 1933 by George Wagstaff and Otto Hatfield. The firm, which was a major employer in the area, built around 150 long liners, seiners and draggers and was kept busy during World War II building twelve wooden-hulled minesweepers for the British Admiralty.

In 1972, inflation brought an end to shipbuilding at Port Greville as Wagstaff and Hatfield suffered severe financial losses on a few contracts that had been secured at pre-inflation prices. Even after his company was forced to close, George Wagstaff had hopes that his company could reopen, but this dream ended on February 2, 1976, when the Groundhog Day gale swept into Port Greville and destroyed the shipyard. George Wagstaff was watching on the bluff overlooking the shipyard that day as his main building collapsed and the wharves were washed out.

With the harbor’s main industry gone, the Coast Guard decided to deactivate the lighthouse, and the tower was sawed in half and trucked to the Canadian Coast Guard College near Sydney, where it served as the centerpiece of a nautical display that also featured various lights and buoys.

After the successful opening of the Age of Sail Heritage Centre at Ward Brooks in 1995, the community felt their historic lighthouse would make a great attraction. The director of the Coast Guard College was contacted in September of 1997, and a few months later a letter was received confirming that the college was willing to let the Port Greville Lighthouse return home.

In June of 1998, the lighthouse was sawed in half again, loaded onto a truck, and driven over 250 miles back to Port Greville. After being reassembled and painted, the lighthouse was open to the public on the grounds of the Age of Sail Heritage Centre in August of that year.

References

  1. Wagstaff and Hatfield Shipyard, virtualmuseum.ca.
  2. Lighthouses & Lights of Nova Scotia, E.H. Rip Irwin, 2003.

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