Will the little Range Light at Saugeen River mouth survive?

At the mouth of the Saugeen River, where it empties its waters into the Great Lake Huron, stands a little Range Light, where it has stood for almost 140 years.  We don’t know the ravage that it has withstood over the many decades but, today, it is consistently being battered by high Lake Huron water levels and high winds.

The walkway to the Range Light, solidly built of cement, is all but destroyed.

                                               For a larger view, Click on Image

The light at the entrance to Saugeen River and the Southampton Harbour, was established in 1883, when a lantern hoisted atop a mast was placed on a crib built fifty feet from the outer end of the breakwater pier on the north side of the mouth of the river.

Murdoch McLeod was appointed the first keeper of the light at an annual salary of eighty dollars ($80). The green dioptric light, which was intended to guide fishing boats into the river, was exhibited thirty feet above the high water mark and could be seen for seven miles from all points of approach. In 1893, the light was improved by substituting a seventh-order Chance anchor lantern for the original small pressed lens. The new light was white and could be seen at a distance of ten miles.

The tower itself is a wooden building, square in plan, with sloping sides, surmounted by a square, wooden lantern housing and the whole structure is painted white. The tower is 31 feet high from its base to the top of the ventilator on the lantern.

The front tower stands on a cribwork block, built on the breakwater on the north side of the mouth of the river and, at one time, was a distant 40 feet from the extremity of the breakwater.

For larger views, Click on Images

The light shown from this building is fixed green (instead of the fixed white light shown from the mast). It is elevated 36 feet above the level of the lake, and should be visible four miles from all points of approach by water. The illuminating apparatus consists of a pressed glass lens.

The range light was electrified in 1939, and an electric tyfon horn, which sounded a two-second blast every ten seconds, was placed in the front tower in lieu of a hand horn that the keeper had formerly sounded in response to a vessel’s signal. A steam fog whistle was established in 1905 atop Southampton’s yellow-brick waterworks building a short distance south of the river entrance, but this was discontinued in 1936, when the keeper of the range light was again given a hand horn.

On August 3, 2012, the Honorable Peter Kent, Canada’s Environment Minister and the person responsible for Parks Canada, designated the Saugeen River Range Light(s) and McNab Point Lighthouse in Southampton, and St. Paul Island Southwest Lighthouse in Dingwall, Nova Scotia, as the first heritage lighthouses designated under the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act of 2008.

Will the little Range Light survive?


With information from Lighthouse Friends summarized by Sandy Lindsay