In 1873, three lighthouses of a minor class were built on the Upper Ottawa River at Morris Island, four kilometres downstream from Arnprior, Campbell Island, four kilometres upstream from Sand Point, and at Deep River Islet. Each of these lighthouses was a square wooden tower that stood twenty feet high and displayed a fixed white light using two mammoth flat-wick lamps set in sixteen-inch reflectors. The total cost of the three lighthouses came to $1,538.46, and Owen Smith, who received an annual salary of $100, placed Deep River Islet Lighthouse in operation on September 16, 1873.
Darius Smith, the Superintendent of Lights above Montreal, provided the following description of the lighthouse in 1877:
This is a fixed white catoptric light; the tower is a square wooden building, 22 feet from base to vane, and 14 feet at the base. …The lantern is of wood, 6 feet in diameter, and has three base burner lamps, on iron stands, with two 16-inch reflectors; the glass is 30 x 30 inches. This lighthouse is well kept and is in good order. Mr. Owen Smith the Keeper, has a family of five children.
In 1913, when Joseph Beauchamp was serving as keeper of the light, C.L. McCool of Fort William built a new twenty-seven-foot-tall wooden lighthouse on the summit of Deep River Islet at a cost of $525.27. A sixth-order lens was used in the tower’s lantern room to produce a fixed white light at a focal plane of fifty-two feet above the river.
Deep River Lighthouse is located at a ninety-degree turn in the river, where the river is constricted by the islet on which the lighthouse stands and a peninsula that extends from the Quebec shore. As access to the river by land in this area is limited, the lighthouse is best seen by boat.
Keepers: Owen Smith (1873 – 1897), Louis Labelle (1897 – 1908), Joseph Beauchamp (1908 – 1916), Mrs. Joseph Beauchamp (1916 – 1920), M. Meehan (1920 – at least 1923).