|Cocagne Range Front, NB|
Description: In the seventeenth century, Nicolas Denys, an explorer and colonizer in New France, left the following description of a harbour on the northeast coast of present-day New Brunswick: “Having passed a little island [Cocagne Island at the entrance to the harbour], one is well under shelter, and finds water enough. The anchorage is in front of a large meadow which makes a cover of reasonable extent where one is placed in shelter. I have named this place the River of Cocagne, because I found so much with which to make good cheer during the eight days which bad weather obliged me to remain there. All my people were so surfeited with game and fish that they wished no more, whether Wild Geese, Ducks, Teal, Plover, Snipe large and small, Pigeons, Hares, Partridges, young Partridges, Salmon, Trout, Mackerel, Smelt, Oysters, and other kinds of good fish. All that I can tell you of it is this, that our dogs lay beside the meat and the fish, so much were they satiated with it.”
Cockaigne is the French equivalent of the English Utopia, signifying a paradisiacal place teeming with food. Denys also noted the abundant trees that covered the flat land, and it would be this lumber that helped the settlement of Cocagne thrive. Shipbuilding was being carried out at Cocgane in the nineteenth century, and in 1902 several sawmills, along with a cheese factory, were located there.
In 1907, the Department of Marine and Fisheries announced: “Range lights will be established at Cocagne. The front light is to be shown from an inclosed tower standing on the shore on the south side of the mouth of Cocagne river, 70 feet eastward of Cocagne bridge. The tower is a wooden building, square in plan, with sloping sides, surmounted by a square wooden lantern, the whole painted white. The height of the tower from its base to the vane on the lantern is 28 feet. The light is a fixed red light, elevated 26 feet above high water mark, and visible 6 miles from all points of approach by water. The illuminating apparatus is dioptric of the sixth order. The back light stands on the shore of the river, 865 feet from the front light, and is shown from an anchor lens lantern hoisted on a pole. A diamond shaped beacon is attached to the pole to make it more conspicuous as a day mark. The light is a fixed red light, elevated 47 feet above high water mark, and visible 8 miles.”
The Cocagne Range Lights were completed in 1907 by day labour at a cost of $699.17. The sixth-order lens in the front tower shone its light over an arc of 240°.
Today, the original 1907 tower exhibits a fixed, yellow light as does a modern skeletal tower, equipped with a white daymark with a red vertical stripe, that serves as the rear range light.
Keepers: Dominique Goguen (1907 – at least 1923).
Located on the south side of the mouth of the Cocagne River. The lighthouse is owned by the Canadian Coast Guard. Grounds/tower closed.
The lighthouse is owned by the Canadian Coast Guard. Grounds/tower closed.
Pictures on this page copyright Kraig Anderson, used by permission.