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Mitchener Point Lighthouse

Foundation for Mitchener Point Lighthouse
Photograph courtesy Library and Archives Canada
Avon River meanders sixty-four kilometres through productive farmland before emptying into Minas Basin. In the 1770s, famers in Hants County discovered gypsum deposits on their land, and soon mines were opened to exploit this bountiful resource. By 1818, 50,000 tons of gypsum were being shipped each year, primarily from the area around Windsor, Falmouth, and Hantsport communities along Avon River. Gypsum was initially used in fertilizer and as a paint filler, but in the 1900s, it became an important ingredient in plaster, stucco, cement, and wallboard as well.

A lighthouse was built atop Horton Bluff in 1851 to guide mariners to the mouth of Avon River, but additional aids were needed in the river itself. In January 1908, a contract for $2,050 was awarded to Lawrence Mury of West Arichat to construct a lighthouse tower on the marshes south of Mitchener Point, where Kennetcook River joins Avon River. The following description of the tower was provided in the Annual Report of the Department of Marine and Fisheries for 1909.

It is a wooden tower, square in plan, with sloping sides, surmounted by a square wooden lantern, the whole painted white. It stands on a square cribwork foundation, and is 49 feet high from base to top of ventilator on lantern. The illuminating apparatus is fixed white dioptric, of the sixth-order.

The first keeper of the light was William A. Curry, appointed on June 15, 1908 at an annual salary of $180. The keeper was responsible not only for the main light in the lantern but also for a fixed red light that was displayed from a window on the southern face of the tower to indicate to vessels bound down the St. Croix River the exact turning point at the junction of the St. Croix and Avon Rivers.

The current Mitchener Point Lighthouse, a 23.5-meter-tall, fiberglass tower painted red with two white horizontal bands, replaced the original tower in 1972. The light was deactivated in 2001 and is surrounded by private property.

Keepers: William A. Curry (1908 1912), J.A. Smith (1912 at least 1923).

References

  1. Annual Report of the Department of Marine and Fisheries, various years.
  2. Lighthouses & Lights of Nova Scotia, E.H. Rip Irwin, 2003.

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