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Whitehead Island, NS  Lighthouse best viewed by boat or plane.   

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Whitehead Island Lighthouse

The Annual Report of the Department of Marine and Fisheries for 1874 contains the following information on the establishment of a lighthouse on Whitehead Island.
Argyle Lighthouse has been erected during the present year on the south point of Whitehead Island, at the entrance to Argyle Harbour, in the County of Yarmouth.

The tower is a square building painted white, 28 feet high, with keeper’s dwelling attached.

It is surmounted by an iron lantern 7 ˝ feet in diameter, having ten sides.

The light, which is a fixed red, is elevated 115 feet above high water level, and should, in clear weather, be seen a distance of twelve miles. The illuminating apparatus is catoptric, and consists of two circular-burner lamps with 20-inch reflectors, and four A lamps with 12-inch reflectors, and four mammoth flat-wick lamps with 20-inch reflectors.

Two circular burners with reflectors, and two flat-wick lamps are on hand. 335 gallons of oil were delivered at this station, and four iron tanks will be supplied. An oil store 12 x 16 is provided, and a boat 15 feet keel is purchased, and will be sent to the station in a few days. A well has been dug and walled up, but the supply of water which it affords is very small, and I think it will be necessary to build a tank in the cellar to catch rain water.

This light is for the purpose of guiding vessels into Argyle Harbour, and was put into operation on 25th September last.

Mr. Isaac A. Montague was appointed keeper at an annual salary of $350.

In 1951, the original Whitehead Lighthouse was struck by lightning and burned to the ground, and the present lighthouse was apparently built as a replacement shortly thereafter. Keeper Douglas Gallagher died of injuries received from an explosion at the station in March 1964. He was fifty-four at the time of the accident.

When the station’s final keepers, Douglas Gallagher and Reg Smith, were removed from the island in June 1986, they left behind the square tower with attached one-story building, a square two-story dwelling, a keeper’s bungalow, and a storage shed. Arnold D’Eon purchased the bungalow, put it on a barge, and towed it up to Pubnico Harbour. All the other remaining structures on the island, besides the lighthouse, were torn down.


  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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