Fort Point Lighthouse, history on the Nova Scotia Shore
While visiting Nova Scotia early in June with a group of travel writers, Fort Point Lighthouse, the 3rd oldest lighthouse in Nova Scotia was our Liverpool stop. While many thought “oh English history”, I had to admit my thoughts ran to a little more recent history like the Beatles. While we didn’t see any four boy bands, we did see a beautiful historic lighthouse along Liverpool’s Atlantic shore.
The history of the site of the lighthouse goes way back beyond Beatle-mania because this is where deMonts and Champlain landed in 1604 and what is a park today once was the site of a Privateers’ fort that defended the town and trading routes in the 18th Century.
Before this lighthouse was built on the shore of Liverpool, the lighthouse had been established at Coffin Island, at the entrance to Liverpool Bay in 1815. According to the website http://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=1363 “… but the booming timber trade demanded another aid be constructed to make navigating Liverpool’s harbor easier and safer by day or night. An 1855 petition by “merchants, shipmasters and other inhabitants of Queens County” persuaded the Nova Scotia legislature to erect a harbor light for Liverpool. Fort Point Lighthouse has stood since 1855 and is open to visitors from June to September; guided tours with costumed interpreters and viewing binoculars are available.”
While visiting, I chatted it up with two young girls dressed in period costumes. They shared that the lighthouse was expanded over the years to make a larger residence for the light keeper in 1878, giving the lighthouse its unique architectural style.
At first, brass lamps that lit a safe path to shore for ship captains burned seal oil, followed by kerosene oil. Electrification arrived in 1951 and the lighthouse was active until 1989. In the picture gallery you will see the drum Fresnel lens that replaced the original system of lamps and reflectors.
In 1970, the town of Liverpool took over the care of the lighthouse and thankfully for visitors like me, it has been open to the public since 1997!