Lighthouse History – 30 – Estevan Point (1907-06-15 to 1912-04-14)

Lighthouse History – 30 – Estevan Point (1907-06-15 to 1912-04-14)

The following extracts taken from early Victoria, British Columbia (BC) newspapers are credited to Leona Taylor for her excellent work in indexing the papers. Full information can be found here: “Index of Historical Victoria Newspapers“, 2007-09.

As I was collecting this information from the newspaper archive website, I noticed that many articles were in consecutive order and applied to Estevan Point, so I collected them all together here. It is a bit long, but interesting, as it describes the building of a lighthouse from the ground up as they say. Take note of the dates at the end of each article. it surely was not done overnight. More extensive information can be obtained from the actual scanned copies of the newspapers themselves on the above website.


 B H Fraser, Engineer of the Marine Department at Ottawa, is in the city, having arrived on Thurs night, to look into the construction work to be carried on in this province. He said he was now looking over the local situation, and it was possible that other work than that scheduled will be carried out on this coast. Among other works planned is the construction of a first-class coast lighthouse and fog alarm station, which will be perhaps the best on the Vancouver Island coast, to be established at Estevan Point, near Hesquiat. A site for this has been cleared. The light will be of the order of the Pachena Point lighthouse, but the tower will be higher. It is likely that this work will not be carried out until next summer. [Colonist, 1907-06-15]


Work is to be commenced at once on a central wireless telegraph station for Clover Point, Victoria, and also at Pachena Point on the West Coast. Other stations will afterward be established at Cape Lazo, near Comox, for communication with northbound steamers; at Estevan Point, near Hesquiat where a 1st class lighthouse will be constructed, and at Point Grey near Vancouver… 
At each station a residence will be constructed for the chief operator and family, and accommodation for 2 operators. At Pachena and Estevan Pnts the stations will be operated from the lighthouses… 
When Pachena Point station is ready for service wireless apparatus will be placed on the Empress steamers which will then be able to communicate with the stations at either side of the Pacific a day or 2 before reaching land. Arrangement has already been made to equip the coasting steamers of the Canadian Pacific Railway… [Colonist, 1907-06-29]


Steamer Maude will leave today for Estevan Point on the Vancouver Island coast with lumber for the tramway of the new lighthouse to be established near the Hole-in-the-Wall. Thomas N Tubman, who will have charge of the work, with a force of about 10 workmen, will go on Maude to commence the work. Steamer will anchor behind the rocks lying off shore about 5 miles to the westward of Estevan Point, where a landing will be established and from here the trolley and tramway extending about 4 miles will be built. A wooden roadway will be built, the expense of putting down steel rails being too great. It is estimated that $7,000 would be required for the necessary rails. Horses will be used to draw a car carrying material for the construction of the fog alarm, keeper’s house and wireless telegraph station, which will be established this year. Construction of the light tower will not be commenced until next year. 
Quadra, which has just left the ways at Esquimalt after being overhauled will also leave today for Estevan Point, taking Captain Gaudin, Agent of Marine, and Cecil Doutre, commissioner of wireless telegraphs for the Dominion government, who go to look over the site. A call will also be made at Pachena Point lighthouse, where a wireless telegraph station is also to be established. The work of erecting the mast at Estevan Point and the building of the house for the operators will be carried out as soon as possible following the decision of the commissioner with regard to the plans to be followed. 
The sea breaks in full force against the Hole-in-the-Wall at the extremity of Estevan Point, and the only place available for small vessels to lie is in a little bay about 4 miles to the Northwest. There is good shelter there, and it is from this place that the tramway is to be built. [Colonist, 1907-07-20]


Yesterday following Maude which left with a cargo of lumber to build the 4 miles of tramway necessary before material for the new lighthouse, fog alarm and wireless telegraph station at Estevan Point can be loaded, Dominion Government Steamer Quadra left at noon for Pachena Point, Estevan Point, Cape Scott and other points carrying Captain James Gaudin, Agent of Marine and Fisheries, Cecil Doutre, commissioner of wireless telegraphs for the Dominion government, and Mr Morse, his assistant. The party went to look over the sites for the proposed wireless telegraph station. [Colonist, 1907-07-21]


Flotsam of many wrecks is scattered along the beach at Estevan Point, where the crew of Steamer Maude, Captain Anderson, which is under charter to the Marine Dept, has been rafting lumber ashore for the construction of a 4 mile tramway and the dwellings which are to be the nucleus of a lighthouse station and wireless telegraph depot on the headland at Hole-in-the-Wall, on the West Coast Vancouver Island. Maude returned from the island coast last night, after discharging her cargo of lumber and putting T N Tubman, the contractor in charge of the work, and a party of carpenters ashore. 
Part of the planking of a broken boat of the lost British ship King David was brought by Engineer McNeill, of Maude, as a relic of the graveyard of ships where the new light is to be established. Anther more gruesome find made of various wrecks that litter the beach, was a human bone. 
Since shipping has visited the island coast there have been many wrecks in the vicinity of Estevan Point, the last being that of King David, which went ashore off Bajo Point about 18 months ago. King David, poorly provided with charts, piled up on the rock off Bajo Point, her crew landing on the beach near Estevan, within 8 miles of an Indian village, the existence of which they were unadvised. They had been there nearly a month, imagining themselves far removed from any human habitation, when they sent a boat’s crew to Cape Beale. This boat never arrived at its destination and the chief officer and those in it were drowned. 
Maude was anchored inside the reefs about 4 miles distant from where the lighthouse and wireless station is to be established at Hole-in-the-Wall, and the lumber made into rafts and towed ashore with the Steamer’s boats. The work was accomplished quickly, the vessel having been away only 6 days. She will load another cargo and will leave for Estevanthe beginning of the week. The lumber is to be used in the construction of a wooden tramway over which cars will be drawn with horses to carry the material to the site selected for the lighthouse and wireless station. 
The wreckage is stated to be very considerable in the vicinity. Among the most disastrous of the wrecks at Estevan Point was that of a Massachusetts bark, which occurred several decades ago, the vessel being totally lost and the bodies of her crew washed on to the beach. Some of the Indians at the Hesquiat village nearby were given medals, which they still treasure, for assisting to bury the victims of this disaster. 
Cecil Doutre, Superintendent of wireless telegraphs who is arranging for the construction of the government wireless telegraph station in this province, is leaving for Ottawa and until his return in Sep Mr Morse, who until recently was Superintendent in Canada for the Lee-Forest Wireless Telegraph Co, will superintend the work… 
From Bamfield news has been received that the work of building a coast trail is well advanced, 7 miles of the road between Bamfield and Pachena having been completed. [Colonist, 1907-07-27]


Steamer Maude is loading her 3rd cargo of building material and general supplies for the fog alarm and wireless telegraph station being built at Estevan Point, Hesquiat, where a lighthouse will be constructed next season… [Colonist, 1907-08-13]


Tees, Captain Townsend, returned from Clayoquot and way ports, and Steamer Maude, onetime passenger Steamer on the island coast, now chartered to the Marine Department to carry building material and lighthouse supplies to the new lighthouses under construction, from Estevan Point and Lennard I. Tees brought 400 barrels of whale oil and 50T of fertilizer. A shipment of 500 cases of salmon from the Clayoquot cannery was also included. 
Fog has been hampering the whaler Orion of late, and only 3 or 4 whales were taken last week, while Saint Lawrence of Narrow Cut Creek stn at Kyuquot, has been absent from the hunting grounds having been beached at Ucluelet to have a new propellor shipped, which was successfully accomplished and the vessel taken back to Kyuquot to resume work. 
When Saint Lawrence broke her propellor, she had killed a sulphur-bottom 90′ in length and this was being made fast alongside to be towed to the stn, when the head swung in and snapped one of the blades f the prop as well as breaking the tip of another. 
While Orion was hunting during thick weather, a whale was killed, but the Steamer failed to recover it when she went to take it in tow. The whale was killed in the morning and after being inflated in the usual way, was left while the vessel went after another one. The 2nd one was killed and with this in tow Orion went to pick up that killed during the morning, but failed to find it. 
Among passengers of Tees were S Reid of Clayoquot, Captain Anderson of Sechart, C G McLean of Ucluelet, Mrs Worster and Mrs Williams of Port San Juan, Herbert Cuthbert of the Victoria Tourist Assn, who has been visiting Alberni, Dr Wilson of Victoria, returning from Alberni, J Dwyer of Port Renfrew and William Cox and F H Jones from Alberni. 
Steamer Maude which returned from Estevan Point, reported that the weather off the coast has enabled the vessel to lie in the open anchored off the coast near Estevan and Lennard Ifor 2 weeks. The 60,000′ of lumber, taken for the buildings being erected for the wireless telegraph and fog alarm stn atEstevan Point was rafted ashore satisfactorily, and work is progressing on the Station The tramway is complete from the landing place to thelighthouse stn, a distance of about 4 miles, and horses are engaged hauling the material to the new buildings. Sixty tons of coal was taken for the lighthouse at Lennard I, and this was boated ashore. Maude will lad another cargo of material for the West Coast light stn [Colonist, 1907-09-21]


Steamer Leebro left yesterday for Estevan Point and West Coast lighthouses, carrying a cargo of building material and machinery to be used in the completion of the lighthouse and fog alarm and wireless telegraph stn at Estevan Point. A lighthouse tower is under construction on the Southwest extremity of Estevan Point, locally known as ‘Hole-in-the-Wall’. The light to be shown from this tower when completed will be a 1st order triple flashing white light… A fog alarm building has been erected at this light station A fog alarm, consisting of a diaphone, operated with air, compressed by an oil engine, will be installed in the building this year. 
A number of carpenters from Clayoquot were taken in a launch to Estevan to work on the new lighthouse. [Colonist, 1908-07-03]


Tug William Jolliffe, of British Columbia Salvage Co, returned from West Coast lighthouses loaded cement for a new lighthouse at Estevan Point and will probably sail again today for the West Coast. 
Tees, Captain Townsend, sailed last night for the West Coast with a good cargo and a fair complement of passengers. She took lumber, coal, barrels and stores and several large shipments of provisions. Passengers included F W Vincent, of the Canadian Pacific Railway coast service staff, who is making his annual trip of inspection; H Simpson, R J Flaherty, S Dickson, A W Neill, Mr/Mrs J Durham, J W McCreary, J H McGregor, D Wyer, D Duncans, W T Buttar and Messrs Bruce, W McCurdy, Godrich, Todd and Gregg. [Colonist, 1908-09-22]


Wreckage found some days ago by David Logan, lineman at Clo-oose, who arrived here by Steamer Tees indicates that some small gasoline boat or sailing Schooner was wrecked off West Coast Vancouver Island. Mr Logan said that a short distance West of Nitinat River he had found a white-painted deckhouse with a red top… Mr Bradbury, the wireless telegraph operator at Pachena Point also found some wreckage near there. 
Tees, which reached port yesterday from Cape Scott and way ports brought a full complement of passengers, about 50 in the saloon and 100 in the ‘tween decks and a full cargo including 903 barrels of whale oil, 63 barrels of whale meat, 21 bales of gill bone and 500 cases of canned salmon from the cannery at Uchucklesset. Among the passengers were Mr Milward of Pacific cable board, who has been inspecting the cable stn at Banfield and Mrs Milward, J Turnan, mgr of Uchucklessett cannery which has been closed down for the season: R J Flaherty, who has been prospecting for marble at hd of Esperanza Inlet and brought some excellent sample from some locations; A Paget and J Ringland, who have been hunting elk in Kyuquot dist; W R Miffonts, who was sent by Dominion Government from eastern Canada to construct a lighthouse at Estevan Point. Also: F Smith, C Todd, D A Lewis and W Allen from Nootka; J Campbell, J Shafer, from Nootka; E Wall, from Hesquiot, D McDonald, J Heins, J D McDonald, J Barnes, D Beck, F Fawcett, H Tolmie, W Randell, James Murphy, W Morris, J Amer, D Irmin, H MdDonald, J Michaels, F Hall, E L Roberts, H Landon, D Mills from Alberni, D Logan and R Daykin, from Clo-oose; Mrs Warsion, T Tye and A A Vernon from Port Renfrew. There were a large number of Japanese and Chinese employees of the whaling stn and canneries which have been shut down for the season. Steamer will sail again for West Coast tomorrow night at 11. [Colonist, 1908-11-01]


While Captain Otto Buckholtz – a well-known mariner who hunted seals, took steamers through Arctic ice to land Argonauts first at Cape Nome and made many notable voyages, and of late has tended the new lighthouse at Estevan Point – is peacefully looking after his lanterns on the wreck-littered island coast, some of his neighbors at Hesquoit are seeking to have him pent in a dungeon deep, or at least ordered to pay unto HM, his heirs and assigns forever, a money fine in punishment for a dire offense. 
They charge the lightkeeper with having shot a cow. 
Mrs Antone Luckovitch, Wife of the storekeeper at Hesquoit, and her daughter, who arrived here on the last trip of Tees received a telegram yesterday from the West Coast storekeeper which stated laconically: 
‘The cow is shot.’ 
Forthwith the ladies hurried to the Superintendent of provincial police and asked that the law be brought into place at once and that the body and person of Captain Buckholtz be seized forthwith. 
‘But have you any evidence that he shot the cow’ asked the police. 
‘Sure,’ said the ladies in unison. ‘It must be him for he had threatened to do it.’ 
Meanwhile, the law waits while further investigation is made of the fate of the West Coast cow. [Colonist, 1909-08-08]


Steamer Newington, of the Marine Dept’s fleet, is back from West Coast Vancouver Island bringing L Cullison and the party of workmen who have been engaged for some weeks in installing the great lantern on the high octagonal cement tower built by Luke Humber at Estevan Point. Mr Cullison, who has charge of the work of erecting the lanterns of British Columbia’s lighthouses, superintended the establishment of this big 1st order light at Estevan, most powerful of all the coast lights. 
For 40 miles at sea this light of Estevan will be visible, and is expected to be of much assistance to mariners making these shores. The tower on which it stands, most solidly built of cement in octagonal form, with great buttresses reinforced with steel, is 100′ high on Estevan Point, and the lantern stands 30′ above the top of the cement tower, being 130′ high. The glass and iron work of the lantern and its frame weighs 25T and the work of installing the great cut glass lenses and frame, each part being hauled to the roof of the tower and assembled in place, was not an easy task. 
The lens is of cut glass and was mfg’d by the famous lighthouse lantern mfg’s Chance Brothers of Birmingham. The cost of the lantern alone exceeded $35,000. The workmen who returned state that during the most severe gales the lighthouse tower scarcely vibrates, so solidly has it been constructed. [Colonist, 1910-02-16]


phs/Clayoquot, called after a West Coast tribe of Indians. ‘Cla-o-quaht’ means people different from what they were. (See Walbran). It is situated partly on a peninsula of Vancouver Island and partly on Meares and Stubbs Islands. The white settlement is commonly known as Tofino, though it is registered at the Provincial Land Office as Clayoquot Townsite, and is situated at the Northwest extremity of the peninsula extending about 9 miles Northwest from Long Beach. The Indian village, known as Opitsat is situated on the Southwest shore of Meares I. The hotel, large store, and wharf belonging to Mr Dawley are on Stubbs I, with the Post Office and police stn shown on the Admiralty chart as Clayoquot. 
The common meeting ground of all the settlements is the large sheet of water between them, full of sand banks and channels, with strong tide rips, so that all the inter-communication has to be by boat, making it a miniature Venice. There are many Norwegian seafaring settlers, many of whom form the lifeboat crew at Tofino; besides owning their own houses, they build rowing and motor boats with great success. The only motor boats and pilots to be hired for the work up the many inlets of Clayoquot and Nootka Sounds are at Tofino. The expeditions after timber, minerals, earths, cannery sites and land locating in these sounds are nearly endless, and they have been all transported by these Tofino guides and their motor boats. In fact, Clayoquot is the best place to commence any small expedition to any inlet South of Cape Cook and Quatsino Sound. 
Tofino has a Post Office, school, telegraph, telephone, a lifeboat and a small store. They will soon have an hotel. 
The only regular way of getting to Tofino is by Canadian Pacific Railway Tees, about 4 times a month. After arrival one has to wait 4 days before she returns South bound, and in these days this is much too long for a business man. The real development of Clayoquot Sound is retarded owing to the long time between trips. 
So far as is at present known the largest and highest mountain ranges (7000 to 8000′) on the Island are at the back of Clayoquot Sound towards Gt Central and Buttle Lks. 
Taking the Clayoquot arms of the sea in rotation from the South, we have Browning Passage to Long Beach, Tofino Inlet with Kennedy Lake entering on the E, Warm Bay, Bedwell Sound, into which Bear River flows, which is fed by the glaciers of the Seven Peaks; Herbert Arm, North Arm, Shelter Arm and Sydney Inlet, which is the northerly ship passage. At a rough estimate, there is about 300 miles of sea frontage in the Clayoquot Sound, and Kennedy Lake has about 50 miles of water frontage. On the East side of Deception Chan, on Meares I, is a large grey building, a school for Indian boys, belonging to the Roman Catholic church. The priests from here also have charge of the chapels at Hesquiat and Friendly Cove. 
At the Southeast end of Flores I is Ahousat, situated halfway down a peninsula formed by Matilda Creek, which comes in from the North. Ahousat means ‘people living with their backs to the land and mountains,’ because the original home of the tribe was on the seafront of Vargas I near Foam Reefs, there being no land to obstruct the full view of the ocean from the village. In 1864 the Ahousat Indians massacred the crew and destroyed the small trading Schooner Kingfisher, while lying in Matilda Creek. There is a branch store belonging to Mr Dawley in the Indian village, and to the South is a large building, a school for Indian boys and girls, belonging to the Presbyterian church. 
Hesquiat Harbour is not in Clayoquot Sound proper, but lies 8 miles West of Sydney Inlet, in the bay formed by Estevan Point. It is 4 miles long in a Northwest direction and upwards of 2 miles wide at the entrance, opening out a little inside, but on nearing the head it contracts to less than 1 mile, and the depth varies from 4 to 8 fathoms. The large Indian village and mission of the Roman Catholic church is on the West shore, with the store about 1 mile North, where the trail comes in from Estevan lighthouse and wireless station The anchorage is offshore, as that off the village is too rocky. The name is an adaption of Heish-kwi-aht, derived from the Indian word Heish-heishja, meaning to tear asunder with teeth. A salt water grass called ‘Segino’ drifts onshore in large quantities, especially at the time of the herring spawning, which the Indians are in the habit of disengaging with their teeth, esteemed by them a great delicacy. The Hesquiats claim to have the 1st tradition of a ship being seen anywhere on the whole coast; this claim is conceded by all the West Coast tribes. The vessel referred to by the tradition was without doubt the Spanish corvette Santiago, Lieutenant Juan Perez in command, which anchored near what is now known as Estevan Point, Aug 8, 1774. 
From my own observations I think this is one of the best fishing grounds for bottom fishing on the Coast. I can think of nothing more pleasant than a cruiser motorboat trip to this place, and lots of sole, cod, plaice fishing, interspersed with a tramp to Estevan and rambles around the harbour. PC [Colonist, 1912-04-14]

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Retired (2001) British Columbia lighthouse keeper after 32 years on the lights.

1 comment

  1. Hello To All
    The Estevan Lightstation has changed a lot When my grandmother and grandfather where at Estavan Point
    it was like another world to visit when I was on my school holidays.After a time I whet and worked with my grandparents until my grandfather became ill and died when he came back to the mainland.I stayed there and replaced him and became a releave lightkeeper and I tell you it was the best part of my life thought there
    was no other life better than this. The only thing I did wrong being a 19 year old kid with my first job is I didnt
    know the ways of the workforce at that time and just left the lightservice thinking that when I get back to Victoria I would go to another station.Needless to say that was a wrong move…..Love to be back on the stations once again but thats not going to happen.Thats about all I got to say.
    Truly Rudy Esson

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