Digest>Archives> April 2006

Point Abino Lighthouse

By Charlene Nigh

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Photo by: Lyn Meyer

Constructed of reinforced concrete, the unique and classical design has resulted in one of Canada's most beautiful lighthouses. The significance of the architecture was recognized when the lighthouse was declared a National Historic Site in 1998.

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Photo by: Rick Guenther

The Lake Ontario/Lake Erie link, which is an important part of the Great Lakes transportation route was facing increased activity in the early part of the twentieth century. The planned expansion of the Welland Canal would allow large lake freighters to use the system; therefore, improved navigational aids were required. The 1913 sinking of Lightship #82, 12 miles west of Buffalo, New York, with the loss of six crew members brought the need to the forefront.

The Point Abino Lighthouse, located on the northeast shore of Lake Erie, was built in 1917 on a rocky shelf jutting out into Lake Erie. Constructed of reinforced concrete, the unique and classical design has resulted

in one of Canada's most beautiful lighthouses. The significance of the architecture was recognized when the lighthouse was declared a National Historic Site in 1998.

Over the years, automation resulted in many changes.

The third order Fresnel lens, originally wound by hand, was fully automated by 1970. One of the last manned lighthouses on the Great Lakes, the Point Abino Lighthouse was disestablished in 1995 and the last keeper, Louis Anderson, remained as property manager for several years.

The keeper's dwelling, situated on shore adjacent to the lighthouse, was built in 1921, and was designed to blend in with the neighbouring community of luxurious summer homes. The result was a two-storey, all-season stucco house featuring many characteristics of the Arts and Crafts period.

The town of Fort Erie purchased the light station in 2003. Preservation efforts will be ongoing over the next several years. Volunteer-guided trolley tours are available on alternate Saturdays from June 10 to September 23. Ticket prices and further details are available from the Town of Fort Erie Parks and Leisure Services Office at (905) 994-7825, ext.0, and the Town of Fort Erie at www.forterie.on.ca.

This story appeared in the April 2006 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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