Windmill Point Lighthouse
© Parks Canada Agency | Agence Parcs Canada
County Road 2 East, Prescott, Ontario
Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act (S.C. 2008, c 16)
1832 to 1832
1874 to 1874
Event, Person, Organization:
Battle of the Windmill National Historic Site of Canada
(NHS or other designated site)
Windmill Point Lighthouse
Battle of the Windmill Lighthouse
Windmill Tower Lighthouse
Description of Historic Place
The Windmill Point Lighthouse (also known as Battle of the Windmill Lighthouse and Windmill Tower) is an 18.9 metres (62 feet) round, tapered, stone tower crowned with a cast iron lantern. It is located on a height of land near the town of Prescott, where it overlooks the old King’s Highway and the St. Lawrence River. Initially built as a windmill in ca. 1832, it was the site of the Battle of the Windmill during the Rebellion of 1837-38. In 1872, it was converted to a lighthouse and became operational by 1874, remaining in service for over a century.
The Windmill Point Lighthouse is a heritage lighthouse because of its historical, architectural, and community values.
The Windmill Point Lighthouse is associated with the system of navigation aids along the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes. It was particularly valuable as a support to the transhipment of goods at the Port of Prescott.
Its establishment on the site is a very good illustration of public demands in the early 1870s for improved aids to navigation along the upper St. Lawrence.
The Windmill Point Lighthouse is a rare surviving example of an English-built wind-powered mill in Upper Canada. Its original use as a windmill contributes to its distinctive visual qualities. The lighthouse is an early and excellent example of the adaptive re-use of a building, in this case a structure associated with the Rebellion of 1837-1838 that has been commemorated as the Battle of the Windmill National Historic Site of Canada. Since 1979, the lighthouse has been the centerpiece of a heritage site commemorating the Battle of the Windmill.
As a result of its excellent design and craftsmanship, the Windmill Point Lighthouse has served successfully both as a grist-mill and as a lighthouse for more than 180 years, and exhibits features of both. Good craftsmanship is evidenced in the locally quarried limestone laid in irregular fashion.
The Windmill Point Lighthouse is a prominent heritage feature along the populated and wooded St. Lawrence River shoreline on the eastern approach to the Town of Prescott and is a highly visible landmark to both marine and highway traffic.
It is highly valued by the local community, being a favourite location for many community activities. It is also well-known to tourists as a heritage site interpreting the historical significance of the Battle of the Windmill.
No related buildings are included in the designation.
The following character-defining elements of the Windmill Point Lighthouse should be respected:
— its location on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River near the town of Prescott;
— its intact, as-built structural form, height, profile and balanced proportions of a round, tapered, stone tower;
— its exterior walls of coursed rubble-stone;
— its octagonal cast-iron red lantern set on a heavy-timber foundation clad in metal;
— its red painted gallery surrounding the lantern;
— its segmentally-arched doorway;
— its distinctive pattern of nine window openings on each of the east and west façades;
— its steep, ladder-like, wooden interior stairs;
— its visual prominence in relation to the water and landscape.