Wolfe Island (Ship Harbour) Light, Eastern Nova Scotia

Thanks to Linda Fahie for these rare photos of the lost lighthouses of Wolfe Island, Nova Scotia. The island is located off the entrance to Ship Harbour on the Atlantic coast about 120 km (75 mi) east of Halifax. The history of the light station on the island is not well known, so we need help interpreting these photos. If you have any additional information about these lighthouses, please let me know.


Photos courtesy of Linda Fahie; all rights reserved. Used by permission.

We believe the photo above represents the first lighthouse on Wolfe Island, built in 1895. According to Chris Mills, it is very similar to the lighthouse built that same year at Gillis Point on St. Patrick's Channel in the Bras d'Or Lakes passage, Cape Breton Island. (At Gillis Point, the light tower still stands, but the dwelling has been removed.) Light lists in the collection of Michel Forand indicate that this lighthouse, variously called Wolf Point, Wolfe Island, or Ship Harbour, remained in service until at least 1938.


Photos courtesy of Linda Fahie; all rights reserved. Used by permission.

This photo represents the second lighthouse on Wolfe Island. This design, a square 2-story dwelling with a lantern centered atop a pyramidal roof, was popular in Nova Scotia throughout the first half of the twentieth century. The 1904 Gilbert's Cove Light is the oldest surviving example. Similar lighthouses continued to be built in the 1930s, including the 1937 lights at Queensport and at Black Rock Point. We do not know when this lighthouse was built on Wolfe Island, however, nor do we know when it was deactivated. Linda Fahie reports that the building has been destroyed since this photo was taken. The modern light at this location (Notmar #585) is shown from a 6 meter (20 ft) triangular skeletal tower.

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Posted November 5, 2004. Checked and revised February 26, 2017. Site copyright 2017 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.