Description of Historic Place
The East Ironbound Combined Lighthouse and Dwelling is a two-storey, gable-roofed dwelling with a two-storey, square light tower projecting above the roofline at one gable end. It is a wood-frame building on a stone foundation, clad with white-painted shingles and roofed with red, asphalt shingles. The light tower is topped by a cast-iron, octagonal lantern and features a railed gallery and a bracketed cornice. Standing on the highest point of land on East Ironbound Island in Mahone Bay, it continues to function as a coastal light. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The East Ironbound Combined Lighthouse and Dwelling is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The East Ironbound Combined Lighthouse and Dwelling is a very good example of the theme of aids to navigation along Nova Scotia’s southern coast. Its strategic location on an island and its good range make it significant for international navigation traveling to Halifax. Built in 1870 and first lit in 1871, it is notable for its long and continuous term of service. The East Ironbound Combined Lighthouse and Dwelling is directly associated with a number of dedicated keepers from the Young family and three generations of the Finck family. It is associated with Nova Scotia’s “golden age” and represents a critical marker for the development of the community’s agriculture, forestry, fishing, shipbuilding, and shipping industries.
The East Ironbound Combined Lighthouse and Dwelling is a good example of a combined tower and dwelling, notable for its clean, simple lines, and vernacular design. The structure is a very good example of a simple response to the combined functional requirements of dwelling and light tower. Built according to a standard plan prepared by the Department of Marine and Fisheries, the many surviving original construction materials suggest that the quality of the workmanship and materials is very good.
Standing on the highest point of land on a grass-covered site accessed by a single road from the wharf and near a small cluster of houses, the East Ironbound Combined Lighthouse and Dwelling reinforces the maritime character of the area. Despite the demolition of older outbuildings and the construction of new structures in the vicinity of the lighthouse, the character of the site has been retained. It is well known to mariners who travel in Mahone Bay and is a familiar landmark for the region.
Sources: Norman Shields, Combined Lighthouse/Dwelling, Equipment Building, Generator Shed, Storage Shed (four buildings), DFRP# LDU 02704, East Ironbound Island Lightstation, East Ironbound Island Road, East Ironbound Island, Nova Scotia, Federal Heritage Building Report, 05-116; Heritage Character Statement, 05-116.
The character-defining elements of the East Ironbound Combined Lighthouse and Dwelling should be respected.
Its role as an illustration of the theme of aids to navigation along Nova Scotia’s southern coast, as reflected in:
- its design as a combined dwelling and lighthouse.
Its good aesthetic design, very good functional design, and good craftsmanship and materials, as reflected in:
- the overall vernacular qualities of the design;
- the clear lines of the two-storey rectangular dwelling with its steeply-pitched gable roof, enclosed porches, and two-storey square light tower projecting from the roofline;
- the decorative bracketed cornice supporting the square wood platform and octagonal, cast-iron lantern;
- the white-painted exterior wood-shingle cladding and red-coloured asphalt shingles of the roof;
- the simple fenestration patterns on the elevations, with two windows on each side, two on the rear elevation, one at the front and back of the light tower with two other ones marking the landing levels;
- the very efficient interior layout, with its enclosed front porch, kitchen and living room on the main floor, and bedroom and light tower access room on the second floor;
- its wood-frame construction anchored to the ground by stabilizing wires, its stone foundation and concrete floor;
- the surviving original interior features, including floorboards, wallboards, and lath and plaster.
The manner in which it reinforces the maritime character of the island and functions as a familiar landmark to mariners in Mahone Bay, as evidenced in:
- its prominent location on the highest point of land on the island;
- its recognizable silhouette, simple form and colours.