Chebucto Head Lighthouse

Lighthouse Details
44° 30' 26.6'' N    -63° 31' 21.8'' W
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     This is a lighthouse to visit. Visitor Info44° 30' 26.6'' N    -63° 31' 21.8'' W    Google Map

The Third Chebucto Head Lighthouse c. 1950
© Courtesy Anne Marie Flemming
The Third Chebucto Head Lighthouse c. 1950
This is the third lighthouse that was built in 1940, a square white building with an iron lantern on the apex of the roof. This combined dwelling and lighthouse was what we call in east coast lighthouse architecture, a "cupola lighthouse." This building still stands and the footings for the tower are apparently still visible in the attic, they have just been covered over with roofing shingles. (Look at Gilberts Cove for a similar lighthouse.)

This lighthouse style originated in the 1870s and was popular for shorter range coastal lights which did not require a huge lens structure. The medium sized lantern could be accommodated on the dwelling roof and thus combine two structures in one. This is a rare late example of this style as they were most popular at the turn of the century and are seldom seen after the 1930s. It is an interesting example of a traditional design combined with mass produced wartime construction techniques. It looks very much like a two-story wartime house!

This is wartime lighthouse had to be constructed when the large Chebucto Head gun battery occupied the site of the 1872 Chebucto Head lighthouse. At this time a lighthouse at the head was needed more than ever before to help guide the enormous number of convoy vessels in and out of Halifax Harbour. As a lighthouse built to safeguard the movement of Battle of the Atlantic Convoys, this building is directly associated with an important national event in Canadian history.

Keepers living in this dwelling were involved in pioneering automation programs in the 1970s which saw de-staffed lighthouses such as Maughers Beach and Devils Island controlled remotely from Chebucto Head. This automation eventually spread to all the lighthouses in the Maritime region.

© Kathy Brown

Chebucto Head Light Station with Fourth Lighthouse c. 1995

Note communication aerials. At this this time the station was the traffic monitoring center for Halifax Harbour.

This photo shows clearly the two lighthouses after the lantern was removed from the second lighthouse. It was used for storage after a modern bungalow was built for the keeper in the 1960's. Much later, it was turned back into a house and occupied by the Guptill family after the lighthouse was automated.

This more recent view shows the current concrete light on the right, and to the left of it the keeper's house/third lighthouse. Chebucto Head has been the site of traffic control for Halifax Harbour and this shows the lighthouse when it was surrounded by aerials and communication equipment. Much of this is now gone because the Traffic Control has been moved to Bedford Basin where the controllers view the harbour by radar. It is interesting to listen to them on marine radio inquiring as to fog conditions and the identification of some of the targets that they see.

Contributor: Dan Conlin, Kathy Brown, Lise Chapman