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Portneuf Range, PQ     

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Portneuf Range Lighthouse

The area on the northern shore of the St. Lawrence River between Quebec City and Trois-Rivières known today as Portneuf was originally granted by the Compagnie de la Nouvelle-France as a seignory to Jacques Leneuf de La Poterie in 1636. The first colonizers arrived around 1640 and settled at the mouth of the Port Neuf (New Port) River.

Portneuf Range Lights
Photograph courtesy Library and Archives Canada
Range lights, separated by roughly 180 yards, were established at Portneuf in 1842 to guide mariners along the Richelieu Channel to the light on Richelieu Island, which had been established in 1816. J.U. Gregory, the Quebec Agent for the Department of Marine and Fisheries, provided the following description of the Portneuf Range Lights in 1871:
The lower lantern, painted white, is placed on top of the keeper’s dwelling (a stone house), about 120 feet above high water mark, and contains two lamps, the one showing to the south-west, the other north-east. The second lantern is on top of a square tower, painted white, about 200 feet above high water mark, with one lamp, exhibiting southwest; first lighted up in 1842, and should be seen five miles off. Complaints were made of the inefficiency of the lights in the lower lantern, and this has since been remedied by putting a catoptric light, two circular burners, No.1 lamp with twenty inch reflectors in lower tower; and one flat mammoth burner and reflector in upper tower, and the lights are now said to be equal to any in the River St. Lawrence. In consequence of the buildings being about twenty-nine years old, repairs estimated to cost about $250.00 are necessary, and have since been authorized by the Department.

The government purchased the land and buildings for the front range light from Joseph Poliquin of Portneuf for £125.

At some point between 1955 and 1970, square, skeletal towers took the place of the stone tower and the tower atop the keeper’s dwelling. Portneuf Range Lights remain active today, showing fixed green lights.

Keepers: Antoine Collette (at least 1845 - 1847),Charles Marcotte (1847 – 1849), Francis Rodrique (1849 – 1903), Joséphine Rodrique (1903 – 1912), Edmond Paradis (1912 – 1916), Mrs. N. Paradis (1916 – 1923), N. Paradis (1923 – 1930).

References

  1. Annual Report of the Department of Marine, various years.

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