Description of Historic Place
Located on the eastern tip of Prince Edward Island, the East Point Lighthouse overlooks the sea where the Atlantic joins with the Northumberland Strait and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The lighthouse is a wood framed octagonal structure clad in white painted shingles and topped by a red iron lantern, surrounded by a railed observation deck. The windows in the tower are accented by red gable roofs.
The East Point Lighthouse is valued for its architectural style; its association with the maritime history of the area; and for its contribution to the communities of eastern Kings County.
Navigating the waters around the eastern tip of Prince Edward Island was not an easy task given the fact three bodies of water meet there. The construction of the lighthouse in 1867 was welcomed. However, its location was not correctly indicated on Admiralty charts.
This error led to one of the most notorious shipwrecks off the coast in September of 1882. The British warship, HMS Phoenix, was navigating around the point, when it struck a reef. Even after removing many of the ship's heavy guns, she could not be refloated and soon capsized. A dramatic engraving of the wreck appeared in the October 21, 1882 edition of "The Graphic" newspaper in London, England. The lighthouse is visible along the coast in one of the inset drawings.
In the aftermath of the Phoenix event, agitation to move the lighthouse to be in line with the Admiralty Charts escalated. This task was undertaken in 1885 by Bernard Creamer, a local carpenter in the area. This amazing feat was accomplished with the help of horses and greased timbers.
A fog alarm was installed in 1885, but by 1908, new regulations required the lighthouse to be moved back yet again in order to accommodate a separate building for the fog horn.
Today, the lighthouse is a destination attraction on the Points East Coastal Drive operated by the Friends of Elmira Inc.
Source: Heritage Division, PEI Dept of Tourism & Culture, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4320-20/E2
Further Reading: Adele Townshend, "The Wreck of the Phoenix," The Island Magazine, Number 20, Fall/Winter, 1986: 9-12
The following character-defining elements illustrate the heritage value of the East Point Lighthouse:
- The white wood shingled tower, tapered at the top with an observation deck
- The octagonal shape of the tower
- The railing around the observation deck
- The decorative cornice
- The red iron lantern
- The windows with pedimented caps
- The entrance door also with a pedimented cap
Other character-defining elements include:
- The dramatic location of the lighthouse above red sandstone cliffs overlooking the confluence of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Northumberland Strait, and the Atlantic Ocean