Chrome Island – a few photos for you

I received the following email from a friend on August 12, 2013:

“Pictures of Chrome Island Lighthouse taken by Bruce’s
sister-in-law  from Bruce’s brother’s living room at their home in Bowser, BC.”


View Chrome Island in a larger map
If you view the larger map you can see the points I have placed on the map showing Bowser, BC (the photographer’s home – green point) and Chrome Island Lighthouse – red point). I estimate the distance to be about three (3) kilometers.
I wish more people would send me photos of their favourite lighthouses. These are great! Continue reading

Church Mission Boats on the British Columbia Coast

I have mentioned a few of these boats before on this site – the Thomas Crosby V (here and here), the Columbia III, and the William H. Pierce. This article should finish the series once and for all. I never knew there were so many church mission boats on the British Columbia (BC) coast.

In the early 1900s lighthouses were very isolated. Maybe a Coast Guard ship about every six (6) months, but to the keepers, and many other isolated residents of the BC coast the mission boats were their only contact with civilization. Here is a list of others I have found, which also includes a short mention of the ones mentioned above (listed in alphabetical order).

John Antle (Columbia Coast Mission) (1904)

The pioneer mission hospital of St. Mary’s, Pender Harbour, where Anglican ships had brought their patients, still standing but reincarnated these days as the Sundowner Inn, was 75 in 2004. It was built by the Columbia Coast Mission, which started life 100 years ago when Rev. John Antle and his nine-year-old son, Victor, left Vancouver in their open, five-metre boat on an 800-kilometre journey to Alert Bay and back. Continue reading

Lightkeeper Retirement Homes

No, this does not refer to retirement homes such as you are imagining for senior citizens. This is a fictitious tale of what I imagine a lightkeeper might look for in a home when he retires. None of these homes are actually inhabited by a lighthouse keeper, as far as I know, but they appealed to me as a place where a keeper might like to retire.

Most keepers hate to leave their lighthouse homes at all, but sometimes, as in my case, retirement beckons too strongly and we give up the solitary life. Maybe we would move into . . . 

1. How about this one?

I saw this little dwelling and its location and immediately fell in love with it. It is isolated; it is near water; it even has a boat (note the kayak beneath the house). I still ride a bicycle, so why not paddling a kayak into old age? Perfect location for me.

The photograph is by Irene Becker for National Geographic Picture of the Day: A Tiny River House in Serbia. The website says:

A house in the middle of the Drina River near the town of Bajina Basta, Serbia. The Drina is a 346 km long river that forms much of the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. It is the longest tributary of the Sava River and the longest karst river in the Dinaric Alps.

i searched via Google Earth and finally found the location at latitude 43°59’3.73″N, Longitude 19°33’59.67″E (Google Earth KML file with several more photos of the house). Continue reading

Lightkeepers are the Eyes and Ears of the Oceans

Isn’t this a pretty neat photo? But what is it you ask?

If you run Google Chrome as a web browser1 you could use the Search by Image extension to find other copies of the photo and then the website, and then what is shown in the photo. Here I have just presented a photo with no information (caption).

This photo was shown in Facebook at one time I think. Through the browser extension mentioned above I found the origin of the photo and an explanation. Continue reading

“MV Queen of Prince Rupert” Aground in Gunboat Pass 1982

“MV Queen of Prince Rupert” Aground in Gunboat Pass August 25, 1982

MV Queen of Prince Rupert - photo John Morris

Before you read the story, I must fill in a few details. My wife Karen and I were on McInnes Island lighthouse at the time of the incident. A week before the incident below we picked up the voice of the lightkeeper Henry Bergen at Dryad Point on our scanner in the house. In a loud and agitated voice he was calling “Queen of Prince Rupert! Queen of Prince Rupert! This is Dryad Point! Dryad Point! You are going the wrong way!” The reply came back that they were on a navigational exercise and they had everything in hand.


Now the story from Harvey Humchitt1 who was on board the ship a week later . . .

It was a typical Friday in Bella Bella. My mother and brother and I had been preparing for a day trip to Port Hardy before the start of school. The trip to Port Hardy was on the “MV Queen of Prince Rupert” which took 6 or 7 hours from Bella Bella to Port Hardy. For me back then it was a holiday in itself. Continue reading

Lighthouse Quotations

I wasn’t going to do this page because there are not too many lighthouse quotations out there. The only two good ones I found were: 

Lighthouses are more helpful than churches. – Benjamin Franklin


I can think of no other edifice constructed by man as altruistic as a lighthouse. They were built only to serve. – George Bernard Shaw

Does anybody know of anymore? Send them on and I can add them here, and give you a credit for finding them.

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British Columbia Lighthouse Keeper Database – a work in progress!


This is the information that started the whole Lighthouse Memories website. In 2005 I started to collect the names of lighthouse keepers, and the stations they had manned. Because of this list people sent me stories, documents and photos and the website was born.


Click on the photo below to see the database pages and a link to the Database.

LI Database

BC Lighthouse Keeper Database



Life at First Narrows (aka Capilano) c. 1913

– Dorothy Mawdsley (Harris) Harrop (daughter of first light keeper, George Alfred Harris, at Capilano 1913 – 1925) (with special thanks to Alfred Harrop, grandson of George Alfred Harris, for letting me post the text of the letter.) 

First Narrows c. 1920 - photo Dudley Booth

[Father (George Alfred Harris)]. . . was given the First Narrows Light and Fog Station. I cannot remember but have a notion it was end of april 1915 when he took over. The light was first used May 17,1915 the day after my 17th birthday. The fog horn was started June 1, 1915. 

It must have been rather hard him living there by himself. I do not know the dimensions of the lighthouse but it was full of engines. Two engines were the same and were there in case one broke down, then an air compressor which was linked with belts to pulleys from the engine to the wall and then up to a higher pulley and across to the compressor, hence by pipes to the fog horns.  Continue reading

Lighthouse History – 05 (1873-04-29 to 1874-12-29

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.


tender call, Repairs to Tower and Dwelling House at Race Rocks Lighthouse, James Cooper, agent [Colonist, 1873-04-29, p. 2]

tender call, for Lighthouse at Point Atkinson, P. Mitchell, Minister of Marine & Fisheries; on 28th James Cooper, agent for the minister announced he would take prospective tenderers to see the site in the steamer “Sir James Douglas” [Colonist, 1873-11-25, p. 2]

Point Atkinson – contract for lighthouse, Mr. Arthur Finney, Nanaimo, $4,200 [Colonist, 1874-01-18, p. 3]

tender call, Wm. Smith, Deputy Minister of Marine & Fisheries, construction of Lighthouse on Entrance Is. Nanaimo and also in Bereno (Behrens) Island, Victoria Harbour. Plans at office of agent of this Department. [Colonist, 1874-12-29, p. 2]

Lighthouse History 04 – Cape Beale (1872-05-29 to 1909-01-23)

Cape Beale

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 Cape Beale, 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.


Lighthouse recommended at Cape Beale, will provide a first-class light and powerful fog whistle. [Colonist, 1872-05-29]


Steamer Sir James Douglas, with Mr Pearse, will sail for Cape Beale in a few days. Mr Pearse will select a site for the lighthouse to be erected at that point. [Colonist, 1872-10-22]


Dominion Government Steamer Sir James Douglas will sail for Cape Beale with Mr Pearse to select a lighthouse site. Cape Beale is a bluff about 125′ in height with a bold rocky shore against which the breakers incessantly beat. Access to the Cape can only be had by going outside the Straits and running into the mouth of Bamfield Creek where a snug little harbor exists. From Bamfield Creek a road or trail about 2 miles in length to the Cape will have to be made. [Colonist, 1872-10-26]

Continue reading