McInnes Island Lighthouse – a Tale from the 1950s

 

I published a report January 04, 2012 on the building of McInnes Island lighthouse in 1953 based on the adventures of Ken Stewart who was part of the construction crew. I updated that post later with more information in the form of a PDF file.

1977

When I arrived with my family in the winter of 1977 the first thing we did was explore the island. Pictured left is a small log cabin buried back in the woods on the trail to the SW tip of the island.

Now let’s skip ahead to December 09, 2012 when I received an email from Mrs. K. Marshall with another photo of the same cabin taken about twenty-two (22) years earlier! What a delight to see what she had written on who built the cabin and also for her to see my photo taken so many years later.

In her email she said:

My grandfather James “Jimmie” Smith was a junior lighthouse keeper on McInnes for a few years in the late 1950s.
He was there with my grandmother Mildred “Millie”, and their 2 daughters who were teenagers at the time, my mother Carol and her sister Sharon.

These photos are of a driftwood log cabin that my Mom and her sister built on the island. I’ve been scanning old family photos this past week and have quite a few from the lighthouses.

I’d be really curious to know if the cabin was still standing while you were stationed there.

Well, as I told her the cabin was there in the winter of 1977, but by the summer of 1978 we had burnt it down as it was very unsafe for anybody to venture inside and could not be repaired. An email from her Mom, the Carol mentioned above, says: 

Pool area – labelled

[To build] the cabin I pulled and carried the logs from just below the cabin from the beach. The shakes I cut those with a hand saw to length. Split them with Mom’s best butcher knife and a hammer on the back of the knife….that didn’t go over at all well…believe me.

McInnes island – no labels

That end of the island where the cabin was. No one had trails there at all. Sharon and I started to explore that area. Dad, Bruce and Tony when they realized where we where disappearing to, they cut the logs of the trail so the adults could get into that area.

The swimming pool was past the

The swimming pool

cabin. You went up the hill and there was the natural crater in the rock. Dad and Mom used a washing soda to clean it all. Then the guys had a pump and hoses. They pumped new sea water up into the basin. Dad made up a bag of concrete to sort of plug one end of the crater. We just lived in that area all good days. Lots of nights we spent in the cabin. Continue reading

Life on Nootka Lighthouse c. 1950s

Here is another story from Ms. Juanita (Swanson) DuLong. She was a young girl on most of these stations, but living there, and hearing stories from her parents, she has created   lighthouse memories from the 1950s time. Her older stories are found herehere and here. One more to come she says. 

It is said that for every person on earth, there is a place our soul will recognize as home.

Nootka lighthouse

Sometime in 1955, I was lucky enough to find that Nootka was mine. Ever since, no
matter where or how I was living, I went home whenever possible. Today, my husband
and I live on the West coast of Vancouver Island, not far from Nootka Island.

Nootka Lighthouse is picturesque, with 360 degree views of scenery. The area is steeped in history, being the true birthplace of B.C. Brick fragments are still sometimes found from the Spanish fort that so long ago enjoyed those same views.

But , I wasn’t yet ten years old, and history wasn’t uppermost in a little girl’s mind. Continue reading

Life on Pine Island c. 1950s

Here is another story from Ms. Juanita (Swanson) DuLong. She was a young girl on most of these stations, but living there, and hearing stories from her parents, she has created   lighthouse memories from the 1950s time. Her older stories are found here and here.

Her husband Roy scanned some nice photos of Pine Island station, but unfortunately they are way too small to show here. When he has time to make larger ones, I will add them.

Roy sent some more scans, but they are limited, but I have posted them because they show details not available before – e.g. the A-frame highline setup.

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Pine Island houses - photo Juanita Swanson

There may be somewhere in the world a place foggier than Pine Island lighthouse, but it’s hard to believe. The horn was often on for days on end, and became only another background noise. A lighthouse tender could arrive in clear weather, and radio that Pine was under a doughnut of fog. Continue reading