The Grand Harbor Lighthouse on Fish Fluke Point, Ross Island Canada, was built in 1879, a square wooden tower 32-feet tall with the Keeper’s dwelling attached. Its fixed-white catoptric light was visible for 11 miles in clear weather. It was closed in 1963 when a replacement lighthouse went up on the nearby Ingalls Head breakwater, then smashed hard by the Groundhog Day Gale in 1976.
It has not been repaired since, prompting calls by locals and lighthouse aficionados for ownership to be transferred to a more dutiful custodian.
Looking out over the Bay, white wooden boards battered grey. Image from Robert Williams.
How it looked before the 1969 Gale. Image from the Canadian Coast Guard.
The history of the Grand Harbor Light tells us something of the Machiavellian political chicanery involved in becoming and remaining a Lighthouse Keeper. The light’s second Keeper, Mark Dagget, had served for 14 years when charges of political partisanship, failure to give proper attention to the station, and being absent from the station and unable to assist in a drowning situation were brought against him.
He refuted all charges as an attempt to take his government-appointed job away, ran up a petition of local citizens in his support, claimed he never discussed his political incinations with others, and finally beat the charge. Unfortunately he died he few years later in 1900, and despite pleas from his wife that their 18-year old son take up the Keepership, politics trumped charity, and the appointment was handed away.
Hollow now and surely on the brink of collapse. Image from Geccko.
With the foundation-stones blasted away, it can’t have long left. Visit via Cheap Holidays Abroad . Image from Swallowtail Keepers.
A few years later in 1912, the fourth Keeper, Lloyd Charles Dakin, was accused of attending a political meeting and ‘annoying’ one of the Members of Parliament. He too refuted the charges, claiming he wasn’t even at the meeting, but he lost the case and was dismissed, with just 3 days to clear out his family and possessions.
All this raises the question- why was it illegal for a lighthouse keeper to be politically partisan? Presumably to avoid the sensation that the job was handed out with any political nepotism in mind.
The light is owned by one Errol Rainess, who bought it sight-unseen in 1984 for no-one knows what reason. He spends most of his time in Belgium, and has another property in New York City that has also been neglected for the past 20 years. Image from George.
Text Sources- Lighthouse Friends
Dead Sentinels: 10 abandoned lighthouses
1. Rubjerg-Knude, Denmark
2. Talacre, Wales
|Construction of the Rubjerg-Knude lighthouse in Jutland, Denmark straddled the last two centuries, beginning in 1899 and finishing in 1900.||The Talacre lighthouse, officially titled ‘Point of Ayr’, has stood on Talacre Beach in various incarnations since 1776, watching over ships make the trek across Liverpool Bay from the Welsh town of Lllandudno.|
3. Tillamook, USA
4. Mogadishu, Somalia
|The Tillamook Rock Light was built in 1881 on a rock off Oregon coast. It was born in blood; with its grand opening overshadowed by a nearby shipwreck just days before its guardian gas-light was lit.||The crumbling Italian lighthouse perched on the edge of Mogadishu’s Old Harbor was built over a century ago, and abandoned some 20 years ago as trade dried up to the failed state of Somalia.|
5. Grand Cay, Bahamas
6. Klein Curacao, Caribbean
|The lighthouse on Great Isaac Cay, a small island in the Bahamas around 20 miles north-east of the Bimini Islands, was built in 1859 to guide trade-ships carrying exports of sun-dried sea salt from Inagua||The Klein Curacao (‘Little Curacao’) lighthouse was first built in 1850, on a tiny spit of land 11km off the southeastern tip of Curacao in the Caribbean Sea.|
7. Capo d’Otranto, Italy
8. Aniva Rock, Russia
|The Capo d’Otranto lighthouse was built in 1867, situated at Italy’s most eastern point, marking the point where the Ionian and Adriatic Seas meet. It was abandoned in the 1970’s||The Aniva lighthouse was built by the Japanese in 1939, on a chunk of rock off the southern coast of Sakhalin, a thin 950 km long island situated just east of Russia.|
9. Ship John Shoal, USA
10. Fish Fluke Point, Canada
|Construction of the Ship John Shoal Lighthouse in Delaware Bay took 27 years, from a decision by the US Congress in 1850 that a light was needed through various incarnations.||The Grand Harbor Lighthouse on Fish Fluke Point, Ross Island, was built in 1879, a square wooden tower 32-feet tall with the Keeper’s dwelling attached.|
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This crumbling beauty has since been destroyed, by the storm of Monday Nov 18 2013. Bryan Enman let me know, and sent these two photos, one 2 weeks before the storm-
And one about an hour before the building finally disintegrated-
OMGosg !! How sad. !!
So sad to see this home to so many be abandoned. My mother, Alice McDowell, was the last one born in this lighthouse in 1933.