Home Maps Resources Calendar About
Resources Calendar About
Popes Harbour, NS  Lighthouse destroyed.   

Select a photograph to view a photo gallery

Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

See our full List of Lighthouses in Nova Scotia Canada

Popes Harbour Lighthouse

Popes Harbour is located along the southeast coast of Nova Scotia, east of Halifax. The entrance to Popes Harbour lies between Popes Head, the southern extremity of Phoenix Island, and Popes Shoals, which lie about two kilometres to the southwest. The harbour offers no shelter in times of southern gales except on the north side of Harbour Island, located three-and-a-half kilometres northwest of Popes Head. The community of Popes Harbour, situated on the mainland, and the harbour itself are named in honour of an early pioneer family.

The Department of Marine invited tenders for the construction of a lighthouse in 1876 to mark Popes Harbour and published the following information on the new lighthouse the next year:

This light is a fixed red one and was put in operation on the 20th September, 1877. It is situated on the west point of Harbour Island, Pope’s Harbour, Halifax County. The light is elevated about 45 feet above high-water mark, and in clear weather should he seen about nine miles.

The building is a square wooden tower painted white, 37 feet high from base to vane, with a keeper’s dwelling attached. The lantern is of iron 7 ˝ feet in diameter, having 8 sides, (2 blank) glazed with plate glass 28 x 36 inches. The lighting apparatus consists of five No. 2 Silber-burner lamps, with 17-inch reflectors. On 24th August, 378 gallons of oil were delivered.

The contract for the building and an oil shed 12 x 16 feet, with 8 feet posts, was awarded to Mr. George Rawlings for $1,948. The lantern and lighting apparatus was furnished by Mr. B. Chanteloup, of Montreal, and cost $818.67. Mr. James Bolling was appointed keeper, at a salary of $300 per annum.

He has been authorized to build a boat-slip, and to cut down some trees on a neighbouring point which intercept the view of the light.

James Bollong was thirty-eight at the time of his appointed keeper on August 6, 1877, and he served until 1911, when he would have been in his early seventies. James and his wife Elizabeth raised six children on the island. J. Abriel replaced Bollong as keeper, and he too had a lengthy career on the island, serving until at least 1937.

Various work and repairs were carried out at the station over the years:

  • 1887 – A new boathouse has been erected, planks of lantern deck renewed and deck covered with canvas.
  • 1891 – Roof of lighthouse re-shingled, new spouts fitted, window frames repaired and leaded. Boat slip repaired, and all buildings painted.
  • 1893 – New spouts fitted to dwelling, kitchen pump and clock furnished.
  • 1894 – Roof of porch re-shingled, and three panes lantern glass replaced and new screws furnished for window clamps. A new boat supplied to station.
  • 1895 – The roof of the porch was re-boarded and shingled, and a new sill fitted under the porch. The lighthouse and buildings were painted. A new pane of glass was fitted in the lantern.
  • 1898 – Part of the foundation of the oil store wall was rebuilt, and the woodhouse and boat slip repaired.
  • 1900 – Boathouse reshingled and buildings painted.
  • 1907 – Considerable repairs are required at this station; the sills, planking, railing, steps and part of the platform to be renewed; the building reshingled; the boathouse, oil store and cribwork protection work repaired and a new boat supplied. The work is being done by days’ labour under the supervision of the Nova Scotia agency.
In 1914, a fourth-order lens was placed in the lantern room.

Popes Harbour Lighthouse remained standing through at least 1960. A flashing red light is displayed from a skeletal tower on the west point of Harbour Island today.

Keepers: James Bollong (1877 – 1911), J. Abriel (1911 – at least 1937).


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

Copyright © 2001- Lighthousefriends.com
Pictures on this page copyright Library and Archives Canada, Nova Scotia Archives, used by permission.
email Kraig