"of the greatest importance to the trade of the port"
This third oldest surviving lighthouse has been described by mariners as "left on port side when entering harbour." Fort Point Lighthouse was built to supplement Coffin Island and was eventually joined by a host of smaller lights on buoys and wharves and even a small beacon on the town bridge, all installed to help navigate the inner harbour to the Mersey River. It had a range of seven miles from its elevated height of 39'. By 1981 the range has increased to eleven miles.
Throughout the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth, the light was manned by a keeper who at first lived at a nearby house owing to the cramped nature of lighthouse's living quarters. Part of the keeper's responsibilities, in addition to regular maintenance and upkeep of the light, was to operate a hand cranked foghorn in reply to the foghorn signals from incoming vessels as they entered the harbour. By the turn of the century, the keeper moved into the Lighthouse as a dwelling area was attached along with a storage shed for fuel oil and maintenance equipment.
The original light was red and remained so until 1926 at which time it was replaced by a flashing white light. Three oil-burning lanterns magnified by a 12" round reflector provided the source for the light in the early years. First seal oil and then kerosene was used until 1951 when the light was electrified. In 1964 the keeper's services were no longer required as automation became a reality. The rise of modern navigational aids resulted in the 1989 decommissioning of Fort Point. The Region of Queens Municipality has been taking care of this heritage building since 1970 and now this iconic structure can be enjoyed by all as a museum and gift shop.
Fort Point Lighthouse is located at 21 Fort Lane at the end of Main Street in Liverpool, about 4 minutes from exit 19 of Highway 103. Costumed interpreters, informational displays, audio visual presentation by previous lightkeeper's son, gift shop, viewing binoculars, washrooms, parking. Bus tours welcome. Park open year round.
GPS 44.044383, -64.707584
Contact: Jackie Jones, Manager 902-354-5260 June 1 to end of September. Rest of the year: Region of Queens Municipality Economic Development Department 1-800-655-5741 or locally 902-354-5741.
For more information on the history of the structure of the lighthouse, visit the entry at HistoricPlaces.ca