Digest>Archives> May 2004

Windmill Point Repair in Sight

By Bill Edwards

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You can see an enlarged version of this picture by clicking here.
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Cracks have recently appeared in the stone ...
Photo by: Bill Edwards

If you had visited Windmill Point Lighthouse in Ontario during 2003, you would probably have noticed an exterior section of the base of the tower roped off. Cracks in portions of the tower have developed, along with a loss of some mortar, and are in need of repair. But luckily, help is on the way, courtesy of Canada.

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Cracks have recently appeared in the stone ...
Photo by: Bill Edwards

According to Elizabeth Pilon, acting area superintendent of Fort Wellington National Historic Site of Canada, an inspection of the structure was done in the fall of 2002. The investigation confirmed their concerns with the masonry cracking and deterioration of mortar in a few areas. The cracking developed most noticeably over the spring and summer of 2002. The causes of the cracking have not yet been confirmed, but some theories suggest that a slight earthquake that occurred in the area in the spring of 2002 may have been the cause. Any movement in the bedrock would be directly transmitted to the lighthouse where it sits on bedrock.

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Windmill Point Lighthouse in the summer of 2003.
Photo by: Bill Edwards

Pilon says that Parks Canada has secured capital funding to repair the damage, and the work will be done in the spring of 2004. Further investigation and scoping of the repair work will be done over the course of the winter and spring prior to the start of the job.

The light sits on the historic site of the Battle of the Windmill. According to the Friends of Windmill Point and Parks Canada, a stone windmill for grinding grain was built in the 1830s on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River just east of Prescott (just across the Seaway from Ogdensburg, NY). In November of 1838 it was the site of a bloody four-day engagement between approximately 200 Americans, sympathetic to political reform in Canada, and local Canadian militia and British Soldiers. In 1874 the mill structure was converted into a lighthouse and served as an aid to navigation on the upper St. Lawrence River for more than 100 years. Today the site is maintained and operated by the Friends of Windmill Point in association with Parks Canada. The facility is open during the summer when visitors may view an audio-visual presentation and exhibits on the ground floor and climb to an observation level just below the light. The tower offers a breathtaking view of the St. Lawrence River and the surrounding area.

For further information you may call 613-925-2896 or write to: The Friends of Windmill Point, P.O. Box 479, Prescott, Ontario, KOE 1TO, Canada.

This story appeared in the May 2004 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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