The Rose Blanche Lighthouse is a large granite building with a mid-pitched roof located on an exposed cliff top in Rose Blanche, NL. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
Registered Heritage Structure
The Rose Blanche Lighthouse was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2002 because of its aesthetic and cultural value.
The Rose Blanche Lighthouse is one of the last remaining granite lighthouses in Newfoundland and Labrador. It was built between 1871-1873 by contractors Smith and Hawe using granite from a quarry close to the site. A lighthouse keeper’s residence was incorporated into the building, in addition to the light tower.The Rose Blanche Lighthouse was likely designed by J.T. Neville, Inspector of Lighthouses and Public Buildings with the Newfoundland Board of Works. David and Thomas Stevenson – lighthouse engineers from Edinburgh, Scotland – designed the original lighting apparatus, a 4th order dioptric visible at 13 miles in clear weather. D & T Stevenson designed lighting apparati for several Newfoundland lighthouses, including the historic lighthouses at Cape Spear and Ferryland. The Rose Blanche light was lit on January 1, 1874 by the first lighthouse keeper, Englishman John A. Roberts.
Rose Blanche Lighthouse operated for over 70 years, occupied by five different lighthouse keepers over the decades. It was decommissioned in the early 1940s and replaced by an automatic beacon.The abandoned lighthouse soon fell into disrepair, all but collapsing during a 1957 storm. Only the light tower still stood by the late 1980s. Around this time, local community groups began to campaign for the restoration of the historic lighthouse. In 1996-1999, the Rose Blanche Lighthouse was rebuilt by the Southwest Coast Development Association. The new structure reused most of the original stone blocks; any new granite blocks were locally quarried using nineteenth-century methods.The roof was built using Newfoundland slate from the community of Britannia, in Trinity Bay. The lighthouse’s current light, a 2002 gift from the Canadian Coast Guard, is an antique 6th order Fresnel lens and is believed to be one of only twenty-seven in existence. The lighthouse keeper’s residence currently houses a community museum.
Although the present-day Rose Blanche Lighthouse is largely a modern reconstruction, it remains an important piece of the community’s built heritage. Up until the mid-twentieth century, this lighthouse was vital to the safety of sailors and fishermen on the southwest coast of the island. Perched on a rocky cliff above the ocean’s edge, the Rose Blanche lighthouse is a reminder of the once-essential job of lighthouse keepers in a place where livelihoods depended on oceangoing trade and travel.
Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “Rose Blanche – Rose Blanche Lighthouse – FPT 1616”
Character Defining Elements
All original features which relate to the age and vernacular design of the lighthouse and residence including:
-granite ashlar construction;
-multi-paned wooden windows;
-mid-pitched gable roof;
-wooden entrance way;
-form and function of octagonal light tower, and;
-Fresnel lamp in light tower.
All remaining original features of the lighthouse, including:
-spiral stone staircase, and;
All environmental values related to the historic use of the lighthouse, including:
-unimpeded view of ocean and surrounding coastline;
-cliff top location by ocean, and;
-isolation from other structures in nearby community.
Location and History
Town of Rose Blanche-Harbour Le Cou
1871 - 1873
J.T. Neville, D & T Stevenson, Smith and Haw(e)
Rectangular Short Façade