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A New Lighthouse

In 1962, the old Cape Forchu lighthouse tower with its majestic beauty was demolished. With timbers so weakened by high winds and rotted by age, it had served its purpose well and it was doubtful whether it would have stood much longer. It had guided mariners safely into Yarmouth Harbour for 122 years. Fortunately, the Yarmouth County Historical Society did manage to obtain the great Fresnel light from the government. Today the Fresnel lens still remains in the museum and is viewed by thousands yearly. The existing lighthouse was erected in 1962 at a cost of $66,000.00.

The new lighthouse was built by Kenney Construction Co. Ltd. of Yarmouth. It was designed by L.E Slaght and it is said to be the first of this type built in Canada. Solidly constructed of concrete 20 centimetres (8 inches) thick and reinforced with 11 000 kilograms (12 tons) of steel bars, the unique applecore style lighthouse rises 23 meters (75 feet) above the ground. The lighthouse’s one-million candlepower beam could be seen over 30 nautical miles out to sea. The applecore style is the prototype for its kind in the world, and was so named because of its resemblance to an applecore.

The tower was built in this slender shape to withstand the power of the wind. The narrow shape, measuring only 1.5 metres (5 feet) in diameter, allows the wind to travel around the tower instead of against it. A spiral stairway winds its way to the top. No visitors are permitted inside because of the limited space. At the peak, its hexagonal shape flares outward like an inverted cone. On the top of the cone is a lantern 3 metres (10 feet) in diameter which encloses the light, and on the outside a 75 centimetre (2 ½ foot) wide walkway.



The Current Light

The current light is produced by an automated 250-watt bulb. The revolving light can be seen 10 miles further out to sea than the old one. Operation is completely automatic, even to the changing of the burned out bulbs. The present day fog alarm is electric. Basically, all it takes to operate manually is the push of a button.

In 1980, Cape Forchu became the monitoring station for automated lighthouses on the South Shore, using the Intrac 2000 system. In fact, it had several lightkeepers who oversaw the system’s sophisticated monitor that kept an electronic eye on other lighthouses operating in the area. While this state of the art equipment could monitor up to 64 unstaffed lighthouses, about 20 other lighthouses were actually controlled by the Cape Forchu system. In 1993, Cape Forchu was automated and de-staffed. Monitoring was transferred to L’Etete, New Brunswick.