|Outer Island (Bon Portage Island), NS|
Description: The first Bon Portage Lighthouse was constructed in 1874, and the Annual Report of the Department of Marine and Fisheries for that year provides the following information on the station.
Bon Portage Lighthouse, erected during the present year, is situated on the south point of Bon Portage Island, in Shelburne County. The tower is a square wooden building 28 feet high, and painted white. It is surmounted by an iron lantern 7 ˝ feet in diameter, with ten sides, glazed with plate glass 36 x 28 inches.
Morrill and Evelyn, along with their baby daughter Anne, relocated to the island, where the couple would spend the next thirty-five years of their lives. In 1945, Evelyn penned the novel We Keep a Light, which detailed the island life lead by the Richardson family, which had grown to include three children. The book won the Governor-General’s Award for creative non-fiction.
During the period chronicled by Evelyn, the island had no electricity, but what was needed more in her opinion was a means to communicate with the mainland in case of an emergency. Just a year after the book was published, electricity arrived on the island along with a radiotelephone.
In 1964, significant changes came to Bon Portage as the old lighthouse/dwelling combination was replaced by a new lighthouse and a separate keeper’s dwelling. An additional dwelling had been built in 1955, after a fog signal was added to the station requiring the presence of an assistant keeper. The Richardsons also left their island home in 1964, bequeathing their property to Acadia University.
After the lighthouse was automated and destaffed in 1985, the university set up a research facility in the vacated structures, and in 1990 the station was officially named the Evelyn and Morrill Richardson Biological Research Station. The Richardsons’ two daughters, Anne Wickens and Betty-June, were in attendance at the dedication.
Head Keepers: Arthur M. Wrayton (1874 – 1881), William Wrayton (1881 – 1897), Leslie Hopkins (1897 – 1907), Angus C. Greenwood (1907 – 1913), M.M. Nickerson (1913 – 1917), E.A. Wickens (1917 – 1919), C.N. Nickerson (1919 – 1920), O.J. Langthorne (1920), H. Greenwood (1920 – 1923), E. Greenwood (1923 – 1928), L.C.M. Richardson (1928 – 1964).
Located on the southwest point of Bon Portage Island. The lighthouse is owned by the Canadian Coast Guard, but the island is owned and managed by Acadia University, which operates the Evelyn and Morrill Richardson Field Station in Biology on the island. Grounds open, tower closed.
The lighthouse is owned by the Canadian Coast Guard, but the island is owned and managed by Acadia University, which operates the Evelyn and Morrill Richardson Field Station in Biology on the island. Grounds open, tower closed.
Pictures on this page copyright Alix d'Entremont, Kraig Anderson, used by permission.