The tiny Canadian island of Campobello Island is known for many things. More than 80 years ago, it was the summer home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. That home is now preserved as the FDR International Park. The island is also on the Atlantic flyway and is known as a prime spot for observing migrating birds. But Campobello is also known for the Head Harbour Lighthouse, located at the northern point of the island.
Built in 1829, the 51-foot wooden lighthouse is one of the oldest in Canada. It sits at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy, home of the highest tides in the world. Also known as the East Quoddy Light because of its proximity to the nearby West Quoddy Light, it is one of the most visited and photographed lighthouses in all of Canada.
In 2002, the small island located just south of the lighthouse was deeded to the Friends of the Head Harbour Lightstation, a group established by local Campobello residents to preserve and protect the history and future of the lighthouse and its surrounding buildings. The group began working on scraping, painting and doing minor repairs on the outbuildings around the lighthouse this past June, a project that continued in the autumn months.
On August 26, 2006, the 6th annual Head Harbour Lighthouse Day was celebrated. The event is held every year to raise funds for the continuing renovations to the light as well as to celebrate the lighthouse itself. This event was particularly special, for the official deed to the lighthouse and the surrounding property was finally given to the Friends of the Head Harbour Lightstation. "We have worked very hard for this day," stated Terry Greene of the group.
"We plan on opening the keeper's house as a museum and interpretive center by the end of 2007," Terry explained. The project will cost about one million dollars, which the group hopes to raise mostly through grants from the New Brunswick government. "We are also in need of volunteers at the light to help scrape, prime, and paint," Terry adds.
There is an added bonus if anyone decides to help work on the light. "Anyone who gives us two hours of work will be offered a tour of the inside of the lighthouse," Terry stated at the event. The tower is still maintained as an aid to navigation by the Canadian Coast Guard and is normally closed to visitors.
Just after the lighthouse was officially deeded to the group, Terry learned just how expensive caring for the lighthouse could be. "A window panel broke in the tower, so I called the Coast Guard to have it replaced," said Terry. "They told me, 'Sorry, it's your responsibility now!'" Thanks to a local contractor in nearby Lubec, Maine, the window was quickly replaced, nearly free of charge. "The window did cost $92," Terry stated.
For more information on the lighthouse or to contact the Friends of the Head Harbour Lightstation to volunteer, visit www.campobello.com/lighthouse.
This story appeared in the
November 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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