|Corunna Range Rear, ON|
Description: In the early 1890s, a 10-meter (33-foot) wooden rear range lighthouse was erected along the shores of the St. Clair River at the end of Cameron Street in the town of Corunna. This lighthouse and a second tower located at the end of Fane Street served as a pair of range lights to help ships remain in the preferred channel, which passed between a shoal, located north of Stag Island, and the shore and was used by ships to access the Shell Canada refinery dock above Corunna.
Records indicate that there was an earlier tower that served as the rear range light of the Corunna Range. This older tower was apparently struck by lightning and burnt down on June 15th, 1892. Mr. James Adair, a carpenter from Courtright, was hired to build a new tower for $205. This tower was to be finished by the end of November 1892, and in the meantime a temporary light was shown from a lantern hoisted to the top of a pole.
William Scott Sr. started serving as keeper of the range lights in about 1892, and he was followed by his son William Scott Jr., who help the position until he turned eighty in 1948. The keepers were required to light the kerosene lamps at dusk and extinguish them at daybreak. Besides this, they also cleaned the lamp’s chimneys and kept a detailed record of their work.
In September of 1941, the original front range light became the rear range light and a new front light, a metal pole, was established in the river, 230 feet to seaward along the range line. Residents of Corunna did not want to see the discontinued rear tower torn down so several of them pooled their money and came up with $75 to purchase the structure. The Coast Guard was not satisfied with the new front light in the river, so in 1951 they bought back the old tower. After the tower was extended by about six feet and its foundation repaired, it resumed its role as a rear range light. In 1953, the lights were electrified.
When trees on nearby properties prevented a clear view of the rear tower from the river, the Coast Guard decided to replace the old tower with a 15-meter (50-foot) steel tower. The Coast Guard announced its intentions and offered the old tower to any takers. The Moore Museum decided that the lighthouse, which is crowned by a diamond-shaped daymark, would fit in well with their collection of historic buildings and asked that the funds the Coast Guard had allocated for tearing down the structure be used in relocating it. The Coast Guard agreed and installed the new foundation on the grounds of the museum.
On August 5, 1982, the lighthouse was lifted by crane onto a flatbed trailer and then transported just over five kilometers along the St. Clair Park to the grounds of the Moore Museum in Mooretown, where its historic neighbors include a log cabin, a one-room school house, a railroad station, and a fire hall. The crane and required manpower were donated by Sarnia Cranes Ltd. in honor of the company’s late founder, Duffy Atkin Jr., whose widow and family members were on hand to watch the move. Duffy Atkin had contributed to many community projects in Lambton County before his passing in 1980 due to a cerebral hemorrhage. Moving the lighthouse to its retirement home required a coordinated effort. Bell Canada and Ontario Hydro were present to ensure the tower passed safely under transmission lines; C&O Railroad supervised the passage of the lighthouse over railroad tracks; and Sombra OPP provided a police escort. During the summer of 1983, rotting boards in the tower were replaced, loose boards secured, and the lighthouse received a fresh coat of paint.
The modern Corunna Range Lights were discontinued in 2004, due to advancements like the global positioning system, which made the lights obsolete.
Located on the grounds of the Moore Museum in Mooretown. The lighthouse is owned by the Moore Museum. Grounds open, tower closed.
The lighthouse is owned by the Moore Museum. Grounds open, tower closed.
Pictures on this page copyright Kraig Anderson, used by permission.