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Indian Head Lighthouse

3930 Rte. 112, Lower Bedeque, Prince Edward Island, C0B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2012/10/03

Indian Head Lighthouse; Province of PEI, PEI Government website
Indian Head Lighthouse
Indian Head Lighthouse; Picturesque Canada, 1882
Indian Head Lighthouse
Indian Head Lighthouse; Carol Livingstone Private Collection
Indian Head Lighthouse

Other Name(s)

Indian Head Lighthouse
Summerside Lighthouse

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2013/11/06

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Indian Head Lighthouse is a rare octagonal shaped wooden structure located on the edge of a long breakwater extending out into Bedeque Bay. It overlooks Salutation Cove and guards the entrance to Summerside harbour. Above the octagonal keeper's residence is a two storey tower topped by a red iron lantern. A railing encloses the lantern on the observation deck.

Heritage Value

The Indian Head Lighthouse is valued for its unique architectural style; its association with the maritime history of the City of Summerside; and for its contribution to the visual landscape of the area.

The unique style of the lighthouse, with an octagonal keeper's dwelling on the ground floor, and a tower above, was once a common practice in areas where it was difficult to construct a separate dwelling house, such as on rocks.

When it was built by the Department of Marine in 1881 under the direction of Islander, Thomas Beattie, it was perched atop a circular pier. The following year, an engraving of the lighthouse appeared in the book "Picturesque Canada". It shows the lighthouse sitting high on a narrow pier with steps going up the side. The dramatic image has a turbulent sea breaking around the lighthouse, while sailing vessels and steamers make their way into Summerside harbour.

Thomas Beattie had learned his carpentry skills from Robert Bovyer of Bunbury, PEI. He then apprenticed in the United States returning after several years as an advanced builder and joiner. The Prince County courthouse in Summerside was another of his landmark structures.

The first keeper of the Indian Head lighthouse was Captain Charles Peters. Although he was in the job for only a year before his death, he had come to Summerside in 1855 and sailed many of the ships built by J.C. Pope. Peters' routine and that of all the keepers after him, involved rowing out to the lighthouse in the evening and staying overnight to keep the light shining. He would then return to shore in the morning. No keeper ever lived in the lighthouse on a permanent basis.

The extensive breakwater leading to the lighthouse was first installed in 1892 as a protective measure.

Today, the lighthouse is a local landmark visible from the City of Summerside. It remains an evocative reminder of the maritime heritage of the area.

Source: Heritage Division, PEI Dept of Tourism & Culture, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4320-20/I1

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements illustrate the heritage value of the Indian Head Lighthouse:

- The rare octagonal shape of the lighthouse with its keeper's dwelling on the first level topped by a tower
- The two storey tower topped by an iron lantern which is surrounded by a railed observation deck
- The fenestration of the windows in the tower
- The wooden construction of the lighthouse
- The concrete foundation

Other character-defining elements include:
- The location of the lighthouse at the end of a long breakwater within view of Summerside harbour



Prince Edward Island

Recognition Authority

Province of Prince Edward Island

Recognition Statute

Heritage Places Protection Act

Recognition Type

Designated Historic Place

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type



Navigational Aid or Lighthouse

Architect / Designer

Department of Marine and Fisheries


Thomas Beattie

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Source: Heritage Division, PEI Dept of Tourism & Culture, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8 File #: 4320-20/I1

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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