|Cape Croker, ON|
Description: Located roughly midway between Cabot Head and the town of Owen Sound, Cape Croker is a prominent headland that mariners were advised to give a berth of at least 400 yards. On July 5, 1902, a light and fog alarm, described as follows by the Department of Marine, were placed in operation on the northeast extremity of the cape:
The combined lighthouse and fog alarm building is a wooden structure, surmounted by a square wooden lantern, and stands 65 feet back from the water’s edge. It is 25 feet high from its base to the top of the ventilator on the lantern, and is painted white. The keeper’s dwelling, which stands 43 feet behind this building, is a rectangular wooden building, painted white.
Richard Chapman was hired as the first keeper of the lighthouse and fog alarm, and just a month after activating the light, he found that the electric machinery failed to work satisfactorily and was forced to temporarily exhibit a fixed white oil light. In 1903, the characteristic of the electric light was altered slightly to show a fixed light for twenty-three seconds followed by an eclipse of four-and-a-half seconds. That same year, a fog siren operated by compressed air replaced the electric fog horn. This new fog alarm sounded fifteen-second blasts separated by a silence of fifteen seconds.
A separate fog alarm building was built just south of the lighthouse, forty feet from the water, in 1905, and its diaphone fog signal commenced operation on July 20. The new building was painted white with a red roof, and the fog horn, elevated thirty feet above the bay, gave a five-second blast every minute as needed. The Canadian Fog Signal Company provided the fog alarm plant at a cost of $10,001.85, while the building was constructed under the supervision of W.H. Brunel for $4,225.56. A concrete-lined well was added to the station in 1908 along with a small dock for unloading coal and other supplies.
In 1909, the Forest City Paving and Construction Company of London, Ontario was paid $1,820 to erect the current octagonal, reinforced-concrete tower, which stands fifty-three feet tall from its base to the vane atop its circular lantern room. The new tower employed a third-order, Fresnel lens to produce a pair of flashes every five seconds. The illuminant at the time was petroleum vapour burned under an incandescent mantle.
The steam fog alarm plant was replaced by an oil plant in 1927.
Cape Croker Lighthouse was isolated from the rest of the Bruce Peninsula until Keeper Norman Whetton, who served from 1942 to 1965, spent two years building a road. After finishing his work at the station, Keeper Whetton would take his motorboat around the cape each day and spend a few hours clearing the next section of the road. One day, Whetton’s wife had to help him into the house, when he arrived at the station’s dock with a severe case of sunstroke after having worked on the road. Once the road was completed, Keeper Whetton and his wife would drive to the station each April and depart each December, when the station was closed for the season.
On “The Light” Before Christmas
The two-story residence and fog alarm building were demolished in 1975, and now all that remains at the station is the concrete light tower.
The Coast Guard removed the third-order Fresnel lens from the tower in 2007, as repeated vandalism was threatening its safety. After learning of the removal, the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre immediately entered into negotiations with the Coast Guard to gain custody of the lens. In early 2009, the museum learned it would be receiving the lens, and after a long-term lease agreement was signed, the Coast Guard installed the lens at the museum during the last week of February. The crowd gathered to witness the first official illumination of the lens in the museum stood in awe at the brightness of the light and the kaleidoscope of colors cast on the nearby walls. The one-story keeper’s dwelling had been removed from the station by 2008.
Head Keepers: Richard Chapman (1902 – 1910), William J. Chapman (1910 – 1940), Captain J.D. Chapman (1940), Wesley Morrison (1940 – 1942), Norman Whetton (1942 – 1965), Frank Rourke (1965 – 1968), John Adams (1968 – 1979), Fredric Jerome Proulx (1980 – 1986).
Located on Cape Croker, which is part of the Chippewa's of Nawash First Nation Community. The lighthouse is owned by the Coast Guard. Grounds open, tower closed.
The lighthouse is owned by the Coast Guard. Grounds open, tower closed.
Pictures on this page copyright Kraig Anderson, used by permission.