Presqu'ile Lighthouse and Fog Station
The lighthouse is situated on the eastern point of the peninsula, formerly known as Gibson's Point. The engineer, Nichol Hugh Baird, designed a 69 foot octagonal stone tower tapering to a pronounced flare at the top with a molded cornice. The Gothic doorway added to its stately appearance. Originally an 8-sided lantern house (cupola) was perched at the top
The lighthouse keeper's cottage was originally single storey. Later a second storey was added, and then removed when the Lighthouse Interpretive Centre was created.
Photo Sue Careless
William Swetman Sr. was Presqu'ile's first lighthouse keeper, from 1840 to his death in 1871 at 86 years of age. His grandson followed in his footsteps as keeper of the light. Other keepers followed, often augmenting their meager income with apple growing and livestock rearing on the federal preserve acreage associated with the lighthouse. Photo: Sue Careless
Due to a poor choice in building stone, the outside of the lighthouse started to crumble with exposure to the elements. In 1894, it was sheathed in a wood frame and then covered with cedar shakes. The light was converted to electricity from oil in 1935 and the attractive top cupola was removed by 1965 giving the lighthouse its current profile.
The 1907 Canadian list of Lights and Fog Signals indicated the establishment of the fog station at Presqu'ile. It was located close by the lighthouse and the foundations can still be seen by the path from the Interpretive Centre to the lighthouse. The diaphonic alarm produced a blast of six seconds every minute during foggy weather and could easily be heard beyond Brighton over 3 miles away. It was discontinued in 1934 due to a lack of commercial traffic.
A book on the Presqu'ile Lighthouse and its Keepers is available from The Friends' Gift Shop for $4.00