Digest>Archives> June 2007

Photo of Pointer Island Keepers Comes to Light

By Jeremy D'Entremont


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From 1947 to 1954, Keeper Vincent MacDonald and his wife, Josephine, lived at the Canadian light station on Pointer Island, in British Columbia’s Inside Passage about 10 miles southeast of Bella Bella. Their granddaughter, Tooner Knowles recently sent us this beautiful photo of her grandparents. Tooner also has a guestbook kept by her grandmother. “I found the book when my Grandmother died,” says Tooner, “and for some reason it has stayed with me for a long time and I treasure it.”

The original 1899 wooden lighthouse on Pointer Island was demolished in 1949, during the MacDonalds’ stay. It was replaced by a new concrete dwelling with a lantern on the roof. Near Christmas 1950, Josephine reported in the guestbook that it was unseasonably warm, and flowers were still blooming on the south side of the lighthouse. In fact, it was so warm that she had to pull the shades during dinner. Josephine added that Christmas Day was “one of the loneliest days of the year.”

In his book Lights of the Inside Passage, author Donald Graham confirmed that the MacDonalds found the winters “miserable, long, and lonesome.” They were glad to leave the island after seven years.

The 1949 lighthouse on Pointer Island is gone now, replaced by a nondescript white tower with an automatic light.

This story appeared in the June 2007 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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