Home Maps Resources Calendar About
Resources Calendar About
Peter Island, NS  Lighthouse accessible by car and a short, easy walk.   

Select a photograph to view at full size


Peter Island Lighthouse

The 1885 edition of Sailing Directions for the South-East Coast of Nova Scotia and Bay of Fundy notes that, “Grand passage, between Brier and Long Islands, is narrow and contains several dangers, but the principal difficulty connected with its navigation is the great velocity of the tidal streams through the channel.” The guide goes on to describe Peter Island Lighthouse as “a square white building 15 feet high, standing on Peter Island at the south entrance of the Grand Passage. From the roof, at an elevation of 40 feet above high water, are exhibited two fixed white lights, placed horizontally, 24 feet apart, which in clear weather should be visible from a distance of 10 miles.”

In 1909, the old lighthouse, built in 1851 and also known as the Westport Lighthouse, was replaced by the present wooden octagonal tower equipped with a dioptric fifth-order apparatus showing a fixed white light. The original illuminant used in this tower was petroleum vapor, burned under an incandescent mantle.

John D. Suthern was appointed first keeper of the lighthouse in November, 1851, and Pete Welch served as the final keeper of the Peter Island Lighthouse from 1972 until the station was unmanned in 1984. A unique feature to the octagonal tower is the circular gallery deck beneath the lantern room. The tower is 13.4 meters tall and displays a flashing yellow light.

If you travel to South Point to view the lighthouse, look for the cairn erected in honor of Joshua Slocum, the first person to single-handedly sail around the world. Slocum left Boston on April 24, 1895 and stopped for a visit at Brier Island, where he had spent part of his childhood and where his maternal grandfather was keeper of the Brier Island Lighthouse, before taking his departure from North America at Sambro Island Lighthouse on July 3, 1895. After more than three years, Slocum landed at Newport, Rhode Island on June 27, 1898, completing his journey that he would later chronicle in his book Sailing Alone Around the World. The ferry that runs between Brier Island and Long Island is named Spray after the sailboat Slocum used for his adventure. Slocum disappeared at sea after setting off for the West Indies in November 1909.

A mariner notified the Coast Guard on December 11, 2014 that Peter Island Lighthouse was not functioning, and the Coast Guard soon erected two temporary green navigation lights on the island as mold prevents maintenance crews from accessing the lighthouse. The fate of the lighthouse is uncertain.

Head Keepers: John D. Suthern (1851 - ), Pete Welch (1972 - 1982).

References

  1. Annual Report of the Department of Marine and Fisheries, various years.
  2. Lighthouses & Lights of Nova Scotia, E.H. Rip Irwin, 2003.
  3. "Peter's Island lighthouse no longer shining bright," Jonathan Riley, Digby Courier, February 13, 2015.

Copyright © 2001- Lighthousefriends.com
Pictures on this page copyright Kraig Anderson, Rich Schoeller, used by permission.
email Kraig