CREDITS: I would like to thank Jeremy D'Entremont for providing much of the history one can find on this site. He is a speaker, author, historian, and tour guide who is widely recognized as the foremost authority on the lighthouses of New England. For a story on Jeremy or to visit his site (New England Lighthouses: A Virtual Guide), use the corresponding link in the right hand information bar under "Related Links".

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I have set up this site as a means to share my photographs of lighthouses. Since retiring and finding more time to study photography, my interests have expanded a little. For some of my work other than lighthouses please enjoy my Facebook page at, John Shaw Photography. Come visit, enjoy, and 'LIKE' if you wish.

Also, for your enjoyment, I have provided a slideshow of our journey. To view it please use the link on the right under 'Site Navigation Tools'.

I sincerely hope you enjoy my efforts and use my site not only for information and education but also to provide directions for many enjoyable, inspirational visits to the beacons along our beautiful coas.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Great Duck Island Lighthouse, New Brunswick, Canada

     Great Duck Island is located 3.4 kilometres (2.1 miles) off the eastern shore of Grand Manan near Woodward’s Cove and helps define the outer limits of the Grand Manan Archipelago. Companion Low Duck Island and High Duck Island lie just north of Great Duck Island, before Long Island.

      In the early 1880s, a petition signed by over two-thirds of the inhabitants of Grand Manan was sent to Ottawa calling for the establishment of a steam fog whistle on Great Duck Island. Parliament responded to the petition with an appropriation in 1884 for a fog alarm on the island that is also commonly known as Big Duck Island. Tenders were invited for the necessary buildings, and a $2,070 contract was awarded to G. S. Mayes. A T-shaped engine house with a pitched roof was erected at the southern end of the island to house the fog alarm equipment, and a small keeper’s dwelling and boathouse were built nearby. Samuel G. Dinsmore was appointed the first engineer or keeper, and the fog alarm was put into operation on October 1, 1886, sounding six-second blasts followed by thirty-five seconds of silence. The annual report of the Department of Marine for 1887 noted that the fog alarm was “giving great satisfaction to the fishermen and vessels coasting around the south and east sides of the island.”

     It was noted in 1891 that the dwelling house at the station was “altogether too small for the needs of the engineer” and that additional accommodation for coal was also required. After plans and specifications for the necessary additions were prepared, tenders were invited. The bids received, however, were considered excessive so the work was instead carried out in 1892 under the supervision of David Ross, carpenter of the Dominion steamer Landsdowne. Keeper Dinsmore added a ten-foot-long and seven-foot-wide porch to the dwelling in 1894, and David Ross returned to the island that year to build two reservoirs for the steam engine and install a new coal derrick.

     Due to acid in the water, the tubes in the fog alarm’s boiler used to heat the water to create high-pressure steam had to be replaced about every four months. A second boiler, made by Messrs. Carrier, Laine, & Co. at a cost of $1,386, joined the old boiler at the station in June of 1896. A two-story addition, containing five rooms, was attached to the keeper’s dwelling that same year at a cost of $400. A new steam boiler was substituted for the old one in 1905.

     In 1915, the steam plant was converted to oil, and a Class “B” diaphone fog alarm installed under the direction of F. J. Lewis for $2,469. The station lost its boathouse to fire on February 25, 1926, and the keeper’s dwelling burned down on October 5, 1955, due to a defective chimney. Two replacement dwellings were soon added to the station, and in 1966 a combination lighthouse and fog alarm building was constructed on the island. This was the same year that similar structures were erected at Long Eddy Point on the northern end of Grand Manan Island and at Long Point on White Head Island.

     Today, the light in the lantern room atop the square tower that projects from a corner of the one-story fog alarm building produces a white flash every ten seconds, while the fog alarm sounds a four-second blast every sixty seconds when needed. The station was automated in 1984.

      Kelly Anne Loughery, founding president of the New Brunswick Lighthouse Society, had the opportunity to visit the island. "To date," she said, "this has been my most uninspiring, inhospitable lighthouse visit. The lighthouse is located on a flat barren island infested by muskrats. Every step is either in one of their holes or something even less appealing, and the inside of the lighthouse was laden with mold. I couldn’t wait to leave. I can’t imagine being a lightkeeper there."

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