Description of Historic Place
The Tower, also known as the Indian Head Lighthouse, is located in the waters off the coast of Prince Edward Island at the entrance to Summerside Harbour. The handsome structure stands at the end of a rough stone breakwater, which is completely underwater at high tide. It is a solid, octagonal form that consists of a wide base, which houses a wooden lightkeeper’s dwelling, on top of which is a wooden tower capped by a gallery platform and prominent lantern. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Tower is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The Tower is associated with the federal government’s initiative to upgrade Canada’s coastal navigation system. Constructed to enable safer shipping into Summerside, it is associated with coastal fishing, navigation and shipping in and around Summerside Harbour.
The Tower is valued for its very good aesthetic design. It is characterized by its well-proportioned composition, its shingled exterior walls and the simple detailing of corners, window and door surrounds. The Tower’s design is rare. It consists of an octagonal dwelling on a base that is submerged at high tide and a tower that rises through the center. The Tower employs materials and good craftsmanship typical of the period of its construction. The base was originally constructed of iron caissons, but was reconstructed in concrete in 1907.
The Tower is located on a compact site that is totally surrounded by water. The structure is compatible with the maritime character of its coastal setting and is a well-known landmark in the region.
Sources: Indian Head Lighttower/ Dwelling, Prince Edward Island, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 90-109; Indian Head Lighttower, Bedeque Bay, Prince Edward Island, Heritage Character Statement, 90-109.
The character-defining elements of the Tower should be respected.
Its very good aesthetic design, good functional design and good craftsmanship and materials, for example:
- the octagonal form, which includes the base, lightkeeper’s dwelling and the tower surmounted by the lantern;
- the wooden railing at both the gallery and upper foundation levels and the wooden access ramp;
- the concrete base and wood-frame structure;
- the shingled exterior walls and the simple detailing of corners and window and door surrounds;
- the pattern of fenestration on both the base and shaft of the tower;
- the decking and framing design around both the base and the lantern;
- the octagonal lantern and the lens, which embodies good craftsmanship;
- the interior components, such as the wooden stairs, newel and balusters and the remnants of tongue-and-groove sheathing.
The manner in which the Tower is compatible with the maritime character of its coastal setting and is a well-known landmark within the region, as evidenced by:
- its overall scale, massing, design and materials, which dominate and complement the coastline;
- its high visibility to navigational traffic and to the town of Summerside, as a seacoast marker of the associated remote coastal environment.