Located at the southern seaward entrance to the community of Harbour Breton, NL, Rocky Point Light Tower is a round, cylindrical, cast iron tower with lantern room and gallery. It is painted with red and white horizontal bands and stands 8.5 metres high. The designation is confined to the footprint of the structure known as Rocky Point Light Tower.
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land
Rocky Point Light Tower has been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Harbour Breton because of its historic and aesthetic values.
Rocky Point Light Tower has historic value due to its age and historic use. The light station at Rocky Point was established in 1873 by Inspector of Lighthouses John T. Neville to serve the needs of shipping interests in the Harbour Breton area. Harbour Breton is one of the oldest and largest fishing centres on the south coast of Newfoundland and saw much sea-going traffic. Over the years, Rocky Point Light Tower has guided many vessels into Harbour Breton, including occasional British Navy ships, Newman and Company ships, banking schooners, trawlers, long-liners and small fishing boats. The first lightkeeper at Rocky Point was William Lorenzen. Albert and William Jensen also served here as lightkeepers in the early 1900s. The light ran on kerosene at the time. Lightkeeper Albert Jensen actually died at the light tower in 1907 after drinking wood alcohol. In 1931 the light was changed to acetylene gas and became unmanned, although a caretaker was still necessary to change the gas cylinders and to make sure the light remained lit. Presently, the tower is solar powered and fully automated and it continues to be a beacon for mariners along this stretch of coast.
Rocky Point Light Tower has aesthetic value due to its environmental setting. Visible from many vantage points both on land and from the waters off Harbour Breton, the light tower is an easily recognizable landmark. The resettled community of Jersey Harbour, Harbour Breton Bay, Gun Hill, Sagona Island and Thompson’s Beach can all be viewed from the tower. The light tower has further aesthetic value as it is a representative example of a particular style of light tower once common along the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. In June 1881, the original wooden light tower at Rocky Point was destroyed by fire. A cast iron tower was ordered from Mr. James Angel of Victoria Iron Works of St. John’s and was installed later that year. The tower was painted with red and white horizontal bands, and the lantern room had sixteen triangular panes of glass. Although it is rather subdued in scale and ornamentation, this simplicity speaks to a concern for function and results in a simple yet dignified facade.
Source: Town of Harbour Breton Regular Council Meeting Motion 09-047 July 22, 2009.
Character Defining Elements
All those aesthetic features which relate to the age, style and purpose of the structure, including:
-size, style and placement of lantern room;
-size, style and placement of gallery surrounding the lantern room;
-window size, style, trim and placement;
-size, style, trim and placement of exterior doors;
-simplicity of exterior decoration;
-painted white and red horizontal bands on exterior;
-cast iron construction;
-height and massing;
-location and orientation of light tower, and;
-viewscapes to and from the light tower.
Location and History
Town of Harbour Breton
1881 - 1881
Victoria Iron Works