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Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse

Bois Blanc Island, Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2015/02/12

General view of Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse; Parks Canada Agency | Agence Parcs Canada, J. MacLeod
General view
Detail of Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse showing its internal layout with a central stone stairway within the shaft; Parks Canada Agency | Agence Parcs Canada, J. MacLeod
Detail
General view of Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse from the blockhouse located 100 metres north; Parks Canada Agency | Agence Parcs Canada, J. MacLeod
General view

Other Name(s)

Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse
Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse
Phare de Bois Blanc Island

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1836/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2016/09/26

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse is a white circular tapered stone lighthouse built in 1836. The tower is just over 12 metres (39 feet) tall without its lantern, which was removed in the 1970s. The lighthouse is located on the southern tip of Bois Blanc Island at the juncture of the Detroit River and Lake Erie.

Heritage Value

The Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse is a heritage lighthouse because of its historical, architectural, and community values.

Historical values
The Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse is an excellent illustration of the development of a system of navigational aids for maritime traffic on the Great Lakes in the 1830s. It is the third lighthouse to be built on Lake Erie. During the steamship era, in particular, the Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse supported increased shipping activity on the Great Lakes.
The Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse is associated with the 1838 Rebellion. On 8 January 1838, a small group of American Patriots landed the schooner Anne on the island and forced the small military guard stationed there to evacuate along with the light keeper and his family. After the rebellion, the area’s fortification plans included the construction of three blockhouses on Bois Blanc Island. The lighthouse is also closely tied to the Hackett family, who served as the keepers of the lighthouse for three generations.

Architectural values
The Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse is solidly built of limestone, a rarity at the time. In the 19th century, while stone was the favoured building material due to its fire-resistant qualities, it was also far more costly than wood. The lighthouse’s good condition is a testament to its sound construction, and it has aged remarkably well.

Community values
Although the site of the Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse is not very accessible to the public, the lighthouse is highly valued by the community as an integral part of the local heritage. Due to limited access from the mainland, most of the visitors to the site are recreational boaters visiting the nearby beach, where a trail leads to the lighthouse and nearby blockhouse.

Related buildings
No related buildings are included in the designation.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse should be respected:
— its location at the southern tip of Bois Blanc Island, on the Detroit River;
— its relationship to the blockhouse located 100 metres north of the lighthouse;
— its round tapered tower with a rubblestone core covered in rusticated limestone, and capped by a cornice of stepped corbelling that formed a base for the gallery and lantern;
— its distinctive profile, consisting of a tapered round tower;
— its internal layout, with a central stone stairway within the shaft;
— its three windows, on the south, west, and north façades;
— its colour scheme, consisting of an all-white tower; and,
— its visual prominence in relation to the water and landscape.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act

Recognition Type

Heritage Lighthouse

Recognition Date

2015/02/12

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type

Current

Historic

Transport-Water
Navigational Aid or Lighthouse

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Conservation and Commemoration Directorate Documentation Centre, 3rd Floor, room 366, 30 Victoria Street, Gatineau, Quebec J8X 0B3

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

14612

Status

Published

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Exterior photo

Lighthouse

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Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse and Blockhouse National Historic Site of Canada is located on Bois Blanc Island in the Detroit River, near Amherstburg, Ontario. The site consists of…

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Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse

The Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse is a white circular tapered stone lighthouse built in 1836. The tower is just over 12 metres (39 feet) tall without its lantern, which was removed…

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