Range light towers have been erected at the entrance of Musquodoboit Inlet, from which lights were shown on the 1st April, 1904. Both towers are white, wooden inclosed structures, square in plan, with sloping sides, surmounted by white, square wooden lanterns with red roofs. The lights are fixed red lights, and the illuminating apparatus pressed glass lenses.
The front tower stands on a concrete pier on Shag ledge. The pier is 16 feet square, and its top is 5 feet above high-water mark. The tower is 20 feet high from the top of the pier to the ventilator on the lantern. The light is elevated 19 feet above high-water mark, and should be visible 4 miles from all points of approach by water.
The back tower stands on French point, Kent Island, about 5/8 mile N. 31° E. from the front tower. It is 54 feet high from its base to the top of the ventilator on the lantern. The light is elevated 59 feet above high-water mark, and should be visible 4 miles from all points of approach by water.
The lights are intended to guide vessels in from sea to a safe anchorage inside of Steering Beach. The buildings were put up by days’ labour under the supervision of our Halifax officers, and under the foremanship of Mr. McLellan. They cost $2,512.
The rear light was originally placed on a knoll, but after it was discovered that the lights didn’t range properly, the rear light was relocated and a straight-sided, 3.7-meter extension was built under it, giving the tower its unique shape.
John Kent, the youngest of William and Elizabeth’s eight children, was placed in charge of the rear or back light, while Jeremiah Kent was appointed keeper of the front light. Jeremiah Kent was the son of William Truman Kent who was the son of Robert L. Kent, the oldest son of William and Elizabeth….so Jeremiah was John’s grandnephew.
John earned an annual salary of $100, while Jeremiah received $125 since his light was offshore. John died in 1908, and Archibald, his youngest son, took over as keeper of the rear light. Jeremiah’s son Fred served as an assistant at both the front and rear lights.
In addition to his role at the light, Archibald also worked as a fishermen and farmer. When Archibald died in 1942 at the age of fifty-three, his wife Phoebe took care of the rear light with the help of her Ivan, her youngest son. Five of her sons were in the Royal Canadian Navy at the time and were fighting in World War II. Ivan took full responsibility for the rear light in 1945 and served until the range lights were automated in 1951.
Ivan lived in the house near the rear light that his grandfather had built in 186,1 and for over twenty years he and his wife Mildred ran the Seaview Fisherman's Home Bed and Breakfast in their home. Ivan’s great-grandfather’s house was on the point right where the lighthouse is and was known to have a ghost. When they tore the house down to build the lighthouse, the ghost must have taken up residence in the tower. Guests at the B&B would often ask if there was a ghost in the lighthouse after having felt a presence there.
In an interview with Chris Mills in 2001, Ivan related the following story about the resident ghost:
We never knew who the ghost was. About 15 years ago, after Mildred started her bed and breakfast here, there was an old German lady come here from New York City and two of her nieces. One girl was from Switzerland and she didn’t know any English at all. The other girl knew 16 languages and she had a license to teach 13 languages and was still goin’ to university!
So, she wanted to go out the lighthouse that evening. It was gettin’ quite twilight and I didn't like anyone goin’ over there alone that late in the evening, …but she persistently wanted to go that night so I said “Well alright, I’ll go along with you.” So, goin’ over the way she says “Is there a ghost in the lighthouse?” “Oh, yes,” I said. “There’s a ghost in the lighthouse, ‘fact he was in the old house before the lighthouse was built.”
“Well, who is it?,” she aked. I said “We don't know who it is. We’ve never known.”
“Oh,” she said, “That’s unfortunate, but I’m so happy there’s a ghost there. I’ve had several encounters with ghosts.” I looked at her and she had the queerest look in her eyes and I thought to myself then, “She’s psychic.”
Well, we come back here to the house and the next day they spent in the city. They come back that night and there was a crowd here, sitting around talking. About nine o’clock most went up to their rooms, but she stayed up. She was a most interesting girl to talk to and I discovered she could tell your fortune. Well, I had never believed much in fortune tellers. I said “How do you like to tell fortunes?” “Oh, by readin’ your hands,” she said. She come across the room and she read my hand and she went back and sit down and she told me my life story better than I could remember it myself. She could tell ya things in detail, a lot of it in fact, and I was gettin’ a little worried that she may know some things I’d rather she didn’t!
A month or two later we had a letter from her and she said “I thought it was very important that you should know who the ghost is in the lighthouse, so,” she said, “I made it my business to find out.” She said, “The ghost in the lighthouse is the ghost of that great British Admiral, Lord Horatio Nelson!”
The guest didn’t know of the connection the Kent family had with Admiral Nelson, so Ivan thought just maybe she was right.
The front and rear towers were marked with a red vertical stripe in 1972. In 1985 and again in 1987, notice was given that the range lights were going to be discontinued, but Ivan Kent was able to rally enough local support to prevent that from happening.
Since at least 1994, Musquodoboit Front Light on Shag Ledge has been known as Musquodoboit Harbour Light, and Musquodoboit Rear Light has been known as French Point Light – the lights no longer are used as a range. In 2010, a red cylindrical mast on a new concrete pier was built just west of the old pier on Shag Ledge to serve as Musquodoboit Harbour Light, and the former tower was removed.
Ivan Kent passed away in 2008. The old Kent family home is privately owned and no longer operates as a B&B.