Saturday, April 13, 2013

Chantry Island Lighthouse

In anticipation of this week's stamp theme of lighthouses, I thought I would share something about the Chantry Island Lighthouse.

I have hundreds dozens of photos. Every time I see it with the light shining on the white limestone, I have to take more photos. Just in case. One of them will be the perfect shot and then I will stop. But it is located about a mile off the shore at Southampton on Lake Huron.

And it is always windy (at least when I have been there, it is. I have been told that some days the lake is like glass, but I find that hard to believe)

Anyway, I need to practice with my zoom lens

Six of these Imperial Towers were commissioned by the government and built by John Brown between 1855-59.
All are pretty much identical with an 80' conical tower with a small cottage for the keeper
and all are strategically located on Lake Huron. This particular area is home to at least 50 known shipwrecks.
The lens in the lighthouse was a Fresnel, imported from France, this one in the Bruce County Museum
and the first fuel used was sperm whale oil and later colza oil, coal oil, kerosene, acetylene and electricity until the current solar power. No wonder there were so many fires. It was a dangerous job. And you were on your own.

The lighthouse has been operating ever since it was built but it was automated in the 1950s,  and eventually with no caretaker the abandoned buildings fell into disrepair.  But by the late 1990s, a group of local lighthouse enthusiasts (now known as the Southampton Marine Heritage Society, but at the time was Supporters of Chantry Island) worked tirelessly at restoring the house. You can read more here if you are interested.

Now there are tours run by volunteers and you can climb the steep and narrow 115 steps to the top of the tower and also wander through the restored cottage and see it as it might have been furnished in the 1900s. Since the island is also a bird sanctuary you cannot wander freely, but, the noise and smell from the various cormorants, egrets, herons, gulls can be a little overwhelming, even from a distance!

a view of the restored privy
some of the thousands of cormorants
and at left, some egrets

and, far off in the distance....
the Bruce Nuclear Power Plant


  1. Oh...that last picture gives me the shivers.

  2. That was an informative post and the photos were good. It must have been a lonely job, that of a lighthouse keeper and I wonder what sort of people did it. They must have been very stoic. Too bad about the nuclear plant in the distance.

  3. There are some landmarks that keep compelling us to take photos! Glad you did - this is a fascinating lighthouse story.

  4. For me, that one on top is a perfect photo! :)

  5. I always enjoyed looking at lighthouses and always imagined the life of a lighthouse keeper to be lonely but somewhat romantic.

  6. I really love lighthouses, even if they are little phallic.


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