Tuesday, March 30, 2010
"Old Cape Lighthouse"
Since the mid 1800's the light at Cape Spear has vigilantly guarded the eastern Avalon Peninsula. As one of two lights at that time, the other at Fort Amherst, at the entrance to St. John's harbour strangely enough were the only two lights considering the Island had been populated for two centuries.
The original light, the one above, is a square two storey structure. The light for the tower was not new when it was constructed. It came from Scotland and had been in use there since 1815 at the east coast lighthouse of Inchkeith. Curved reflectors concentrated and intensified the light rays from seven Argand burners, named for their Swiss inventor. The movement of the light was controlled by a clock work mechanism. The last of the lights in the old lighthouse above was a glass dioptric system installed in 1912. First lit by oil, acetylene was adopted in 1916, and electricity in 1930. In 1955 the dioptric system was removed from the old to the new tower not far from the original light(in the header).
The old light has been restored to its' original appearance and is well worth a tour if you visit. I thought them quite inviting and quaint living accommodations considering the time and location of dwelling. I often thought of how cozy it must have been nestled in the inner chambers of its warmth during a treacherous and snowy nor-east er bearing down on you like a buzzard on a carcass. Probably not as romantic a thought when you had to escape to the tower to do maintenance or check on the light at such a time. This light is directly at cliffs edge and I can also imagine that one would be hoping the foundation would hold, anchoring during any storm.