Toco (Galera Point) Light, Trinidad

Thanks to Sharon Burford for these photos of the Galera Point Light at the northeastern corner of Trinidad. Built by the British in 1897, the lighthouse is east of the town of Toco and is usually called Toco Light in Trinidad.

The photo at the right was taken sometime between 1910 and 1926, and it shows the lighthouse in its best days. Standing in front of the tower, at left, is the lighthouse keeper. On the right is Sharon's great grandfather, the Rev. George McCartney, an Anglican pastor who established the Anglican Church in Toco and served there for many years.

The photo at left below, taken by Sharon's stepfather Derek Williams, show the lighthouse in the sadder condition that prevailed as recently as 2005.

The lighthouse has been stripped of its historic lantern and lens, and the tower has been encased in a concrete shell. The tower itself was clearly neglected and in poor condition. .

A local organization, Stakeholders Against Destruction for Toco (SAD), was lobbying the government to establish a national park in the area and restore the lighthouse as a tourist attraction: "Absentee ownership has resulted in the area becoming a de facto public space and SAD is lobbying the government to seize this opportunity to invest in the preservation of this exceptionally serene and scenic area, and to convert it into a revenue- and employment-generating Nature and Heritage Park."

This would parallel the preservation of Chacachacare Light, a twin of the Galera Point Light, in Chacachacare National Park.

So far, there is no national park, but the government has renovated and repainted the lighthouse, securing it from further deterioration. Parking and picnic facilities have also been provided. The results can be seen in the photo at lower right, taken in May 2007. The restored tower has become a leading tourist attraction on Trinidad's northeast coast.

historic photo scan courtesy of Sharon Burford

Galera Point Light, 2005
photo copyright Derek Williams and Sharon Burford
used by permission

Galera Point Light, May 2007
photo copyright Sharon Burford
used by permission

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March 16, 2005. Checked and revised March 22, 2018. Site copyright 2018 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.