Lighthouse History – 51 (1927-02-04 – 1927-06-29)

Lighthouse History – 51 (1927-02-04 – 1927-06-29)

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.

Please Note: December 20, 2012 – I am continuing the series with this Lighthouse History #51 because the newspapers have now been indexed up to 1932. I quit posting at #50 as the extracts only went to 1926. They have now been extended from 1927 to 1932 so I will sift through the data for anything lighhouse! So far, a lot of it appears to be obituaries.

Henry Georgeson, 91, retired keeper of Active Pass lighthouse died Feb 3. [funeral Feb 10, 12…] [Colonist, 1927-02-04, p. 4]


Died May 9, 1927 at V, Captain James Christensen, 86. Resident here in 1864, aged 21, born in Denmark. He worked his way out in a cargo ship from Liverpool. Here he tried shore pursuits until he joined Surprise as mate, and in that capacity in 1869 came in contact with the loss of US bark John Bright, off Hesquiat… [see earlier accounts] 
Christensen was afterwards on schooner Alert, with Captain William Spring, and continued trading on the West Coast for some years. He was a pioneer in the sealing trade. His last journey to the west coast was to take material for the erection of Cape Beale lighthouse in 1876. He was successively in command of Beaver, Pilot, tugs Alexander and Lorne, and in 1891 became pilot for Victoria and Nanaimo districts [8 years]. 
In 1868 he married Mary Linklater, and leaves son, Andrew. His other son, Captain James Christensen, succeeded him as commander of Lorne and afterwards ran other tugs out of Victoria until 1894. In that year he lost his life with all the crew of steamer Estelle, which foundered off Cape Mudge. IOOF. Pallbearers: Captains J E Butler and J Gosse, E More, J Woodriff, W McKay, R Lawson. May 11, 14 – How Captain Christensen Conquered the Doubters… Family plot, H 093b094 E 23. [Colonist, 1927-05-08*]


 Jun 28, 1 – A serious fire occurred Jun 24 at the Lennard Island lighthouse, in which the lightkeeper’s residence and most of his furniture and possessions were destroyed, and the lighthouse itself barely escaped demolition. Joe Nesbit, the assistant, kindled a fire in the kitchen range and Miss Violet McPhee, the lightkeeper’s daughter, entered the room later. On opening the door she found herself confronted by smoke and flame. She immediately closed the door and, after sounding an alarm, rushed to the telephone and sent an SOS to the Tofino lifesaving station, to which the lifeboat promptly responded, loading fire extinguishers, manning the boat, and traversing all in 45 minutes. The sea being too stormy to permit anchorage, Coxswain Hansen and Engineer McKenzie were compelled to stand by the boat while the balance of the crew, consisting of Alex McLeod, James Grant and George Anderson, succeeded in effecting a landing, and hurried to the assistance of the smoke-blinded and almost exhausted firefighters, D B McPhee, Fred Hornby and Nesbit, who had been waging an uphill battle with the flames. 
When relief came the residence had been burned to the ground, and the fire had crossed the track and extended to the oil and paint house, where hundreds of gallons of oil were stored, the structure being aflame at one corner and on part of the roof. This being the crucial part of the whole situation, it was here that the most determined battle with the flames took place, as an explosion of the oil tanks would have sealed the doom of the whole lighthouse plant. It was only by the bravery, coolness and resourcefulness of D B McPhee, that this disaster was averted. McPhee tore off the burning shingles and issued instructions to his helpers, who were vigorously bombarding the ignited portions of the walls with chemicals and buckets of water, until the outbreak was conquered. The lightkeeper and his temporarily homeless family are now finding sanctuary in an unpretentious shack nestling near its base. [Colonist, 1927-06-26*]


CGSS Estevan has been in Ucluelet for 2 weeks installing a foghorn at the Amphitrite Point lighthouse. The 1st building there was a wooden structure and was washed away by a big sea. Some 15 years ago it was replaced by the picturesque concrete lighthouse which now stands. 
While the lifeboat was stationed in Ucluelet the crew kept watch night and day, but since the lifesaving station has been moved to Tofino the light has been unwatched. But now that it has the much-needed foghorn it will be necessary to have a resident keeper. Anderson Fisheries of Ucluelet have received their 1st catch of pilchards this week. The plant is now in full operation, reducing the fish to oil and fertilizer. [Colonist, 1927-06-29, p. 13]



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