Rocky Point Lighthouse
Harbour Breton, Newfoundland and Labrador
(© Kraig Anderson - lighthousefriends.com)
Southside Drive, Harbour Breton, Newfoundland and Labrador
Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act (S.C. 2008, c 16)
1881 to 1881
1873 to 1873
Description of Historic Place
The Rocky Point Lighthouse is an 9.1 metre tall, round, cylindrical, prefabricated cast-iron tower surmounted by a lantern of triangular-paned design. It is located at the southern seaward entrance to the community of Harbour Breton. Constructed in 1881, the lighthouse is the second on the site and is the oldest extant lighthouse on the southwest coast of Newfoundland.
The Rocky Point Lighthouse is a heritage lighthouse because of its historical, architectural, and community values.
The Rocky Point Lighthouse is a very good representation of the development of navigational aids in the colony of Newfoundland. The lighthouse’s construction was part of the 19th century project by the Newfoundland Board of Works to mark bays and harbours with minor lights and make local shipping and fishing safer for Newfoundland’s population.
The Rocky Point Lighthouse is an excellent example of the socio-economic development of the Harbour Breton community. Harbour Breton grew to be one of the major commercial centres on the south coast due to its superior harbour and proximity to the rich fish resources of the Grand Banks. The survival of the local community of Harbour Breton has historically depended on the local fisheries and on the notable fishing companies that were stationed in the town. The lighthouse supported the local fishing industry and provided the necessary navigational aid for vessels entering Harbour Breton.
The Rocky Point Lighthouse is a very good example of a prefabricated cast-iron tower. The lighthouse is well-proportioned and sparsely detailed. The utilitarian character of the tower is reflected in its smooth tubular form and lack of decoration. The lighthouse also features a “crow’s nest”-inspired gallery, reminiscent of enclosed lookout structures found on the upper part of ship masts. The lantern’s triangular panes are common features for British lighthouse designs in Newfoundland.
The Rocky Point Lighthouse was inexpensive to build and easy to erect. It has both low maintenance requirements and long-term durability. It is an excellent reflection of the desire to achieve a design that would withstand the rigours of the Newfoundland coast. The design was common for the Newfoundland coast in the second half of the 19th century.
Rocky Point Lighthouse reinforces the picturesque maritime character of the area. The lighthouse is located at the mouth of Harbour Breton Bay, a fjord with vertical granite cliffs, coves and inlets. It is visible from many vantage points both on land and from the waters off Harbour Breton. The lighthouse grounds provide stunning views of the bay and the communities of Jersey Harbour, Harbour Breton, Gun Hill, Sagona Island and Thompson’s Beach.
The Rocky Point Lighthouse is a symbol of the Harbour Breton community. The lighthouse is the oldest structure in the town and creates a sense of continuity for its residents. It is the town’s largest tourist attraction and there is a short trail and lookout area around the lighthouse for locals and visitors to enjoy. The town has maintained the site through trail development, landscaping, woodwork and interpretive signs giving information about the history of the lighthouse and surroundings. The lighthouse is visited frequently by tourists and locals alike and is the only accessible lighthouse in the Coast of Bays region.
No related buildings are included in the designation.
The following character-defining elements of the Rocky Point Lighthouse should be respected:
— its location on the southern seaward entrance to the community of Harbour Breton;
— its intact, as-built structural form, height, profile and balanced proportions;
— its cylindrical, cast iron tower;
— its small lantern with sixteen triangular glass panes;
— its hexagonal roof topped by a round vent;
— its ‘crow’s nest’-inspired gallery surrounded by metal railing and supported by fretwork brackets;
— its two small windows on the tower;
— its elevated entry door;
— its simple reinforced concrete foundation;
— its traditional red and white exterior colour scheme, notably the alternating red and white bands on the tower; and,
— its visual prominence in relation to the water and landscape.