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Prim Point, NS  Lighthouse accessible by car and a short, easy walk.   

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Prim Point Lighthouse

The current Prim Point Lighthouse is the fourth in a succession of lights built on this location that date back to 1804. The 1804 light lasted just four years before burning in 1808, and it wasn't until 1817 that its replacement was built. The second Prim Point Lighthouse was a square dwelling, painted white with red vertical stripes on its northern and two adjoining sides. Richard Bragg kept the light, which was exhibited from a five-sided lantern room perched atop the north end of the dwelling, from 1821 until 1839. Frederick Bragg succeeded his father and served at the light until 1872.

1874 Point Prim Lighthouse
Photograph courtesy Nova Scotia Archives and Records
The Annual Report of the Department of Marine and Fisheries records the fate of the lighthouse just one year after the end of the fifty-one years of service by the Bragg family.
On the night of the 16th of March, the Lighthouse at Point Prim, at the entrance to Digby Gut, was entirely destroyed by fire, which was supposed to have originated in the lantern, which was very small and confined. In spite of the efforts of the keeper, the Lighthouse and all its contents were burned to the ground. A temporary light has since then been exhibited from a small lantern placed on the top of the engine house, distant only a few yards from the old site. But little real damage was caused by this fire, as the building destroyed was old, and every year becoming more and more unfit for the purposes of a Lighthouse.

The third Prim Point Lighthouse, built in 1874, was a square wooden tower with sloping sides built into the northern end of one-and-a-half-story dwelling with a gabled roof. Red vertical stripes adorned the tower to continue the station’s daymark. A second family emerged to establish an even longer dynasty at Prim Point. Captain William Ellis became keeper in March 1875, and his granddaughter continued the family’s run at the lighthouse until her husband, Frank Wilson, passed away in 1963.

Captain Ellis was keeper at Prim Point in 1910 when he spotted the steamer Westport entering Digby Gut with her under-deck cargo apparently on fire. Keeper Ellis telephoned for help, and the lifeboat Daring rushed to the steamer and safely offloaded her nine passengers. The steamer jettisoned the barrels of gasoline and kerosene she had on deck, and made her way to Digby, where she was safely beached at a safe distance from the government pier. The Digby Fire Department helped extinguish the fire, which along with the water had ruined most of the cargo.

Carman Frankland came to Prim Point as keeper in June of 1963 and was present when roughly a year later, a bulldozer pushed the third Prim Point Lighthouse over the bluff on May 13, 1964. The fourth lighthouse on Prim Point was built in the familiar form of a square tower rising from one corner of a one-story, flat-roofed building. Keeper Frankland cared for the new light until it was unmanned in 1987. Visitors to the station today will still see the vertical red stripes that have been historically used at the station.

The Municipality of the District of Digby signed and returned an offer for Prim Point Lighthouse to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in September 2014, but it wasn't until June 2016 that ownership of the property was transferred. “We are delighted to have finally settled this transfer process and get this spectacular piece of property into local hands”, said Linda Gregory, Warden of the municipality. With the official transfer of Point Prim, DFO also released $25,000 to help with maintenance of the lighthouse.

Keepers: Richard Bragg (1821 - 1839), Fredrick Bragg (1839 - 1872), Sheppard Frost (1872 - 1875), William Ellis (1875 - 1912), Leander Montgomery Ellis (1912 - 1935), Frank Wilson (1935 - 1963), Carman Frankland (1963 - 1964), Edward Murphy (1964 - 1987).


  1. Annual Report of the Department of Marine and Fisheries, various years.
  2. Lighthouses & Lights of Nova Scotia, E.H. Rip Irwin, 2003.
  3. "Point Prim is ours: DFO still owns Boar's Head and Bear River lighthouses," Jonathan Riley, Digby Courier, August 5, 2016.

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