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Hant's Harbour, NF  A hike of some distance required.   

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Hant's Harbour Lighthouse

Hantís Harbour is situated on the western side of the Bay de Verde Peninsula that divides Trinity Bay and Conception Bay. Itís horseshoe-shaped harbour is bounded by Grassy Island on the west and Custardís Head on the east.

Like most shoreline settlements in Newfoundland, Hantís Harbour relied primarily on the cod fishery in its early years, but by the mid-nineteenth century the seal hunt had also become an important source of income. In 1871, eighty-one of its 104 households were listed as fishermen, while just two were listed as farmers. Many of the vessels used locally were built at Hantís Harbour. Seven ships, ranging in size from twenty-five to sixty-six tons were built at Hantís Harbour in 1877.

Original Hantís Harbour Lighthouse
Photograph courtesy Canadian Coast Guard
As the age of sail passed, fewer vessels from Hantís Harbour were involved in the seal hunt. While eight vessels carrying 294 men had sailed from Hantís Harbour in 1853, two decades later only two vessels with sixty-four men participated in the seal hunt. Steam-powered vessels ported in St. Johnís and Harbour Grace became the dominant players in the seal fishery, and sealers from Hantís Harbour were employed on them.

The Newfoundland House of Assembly received a petition from inhabitants of Trinity Bay in 1880 calling for a lighthouse at Hantís Harbour, and the following year a wooden octagonal tower attached to a one-storey store with a pitched roof was built on Custardís Head. An Argand lamp was used in an eighth-order lens to produce a fixed white light at a focal plane of 19.8 metres. The lantern room was glazed with triangular panes, and the tower and store were painted white.

The first keeper of the lighthouse was W. Soper, and he was still in charge in 1885, when complaints were made that the light ďmakes but a very indifferent appearance during the earlier hours of the night, but improving as time passed.Ē Keeper Soper was contacted regarding the matter, and though his reply was defensive, it was judged an admission of the correctness of the charges. The inspector warned Soper to be more careful in the future, and he apparently was, as the report for 1889 listed the station as being ďin good order and well cared for.Ē

In 1893 a sixth-order lens was installed in the lantern room in place of the original eighth-order lens, and the improvement was ďmuch appreciated in the locality.Ē Starting in 1914, the tower was listed in the annual Light List as being square instead of octagonal, but the focal plane remained 19.8 metres.

The fuel for the light was changed from kerosene to acetylene gas in 1931, and its characteristic was altered from fixed white to flashing white. The present square, pyramidal lighthouse was built in 1957 according to the Canadian Coast Guard. The tower stands nine metres tall, and the focal plane remains 19.8 metres, as it always has been. The lantern room with its triangular panes appears to be the original from 1881.

Commercial electricity was strung to the lighthouse in 1968, and B. Ash was awarded a contract to service the light. Realizing the tourism potential of the site, Lower Trinity South Development Association has created a picnic site near the lighthouse.

Keepers: W. Soper (1881- at least 1912), Frank Soper, Leonard Soper, B. Ash.

References

  1. Journal of the House of Assembly of Newfoundland, various years.
  2. Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1981.
  3. Lighthouses of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canadian Coast Guard.

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