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Ferryland Head Lighthouse Keeper's Dwelling Municipal Heritage Site

Ferryland, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2006/05/02

Exterior photo of the southwestern elevation of the Lighthouse Keeper's Dwelling, Ferryland, NL. Photo taken May 2006.; HFNL/Andrea O'Brien 2006
Ferryland Head Lighthouse Keeper's Dwelling
Exterior photo of Lighthouse Keeper's Dwelling, Ferryland, NL loking east. Photo taken May 2006.; HFNL/Andrea O'Brien 2006
Ferryland Head Lighthouse Keeper's Dwelling
View of Lighthouse Keeper's Dwelling and Tower, Ferryland, NL looking north.; Paul Boyer
Ferryland Lighthouse atop Ferryland Head

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/06/19

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Ferryland Head Lighthouse Keeper’s Dwelling is a two storey wooden structure with a cross gabled roof. Built between 1870 and 1871 by contractor William Campbell and mason Thomas Burridge of St. John’s, it is located on Ferryland Head, NL on the edge of the Atlantic ocean. The designation includes the lighthouse keeper’s dwelling and a parcel of land surrounding it.

Heritage Value

Ferryland Head Lighthouse Keeper’s Dwelling has been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Ferryland because of its aesthetic, historic and cultural values.

Ferryland Head Lighthouse Keeper’s Dwelling has great aesthetic value because of its environmental setting and landmark value. Located fifty eight metres above sea level on the tip of Ferryland Head, the lightstation has been well known to mariners and local residents since its construction. Painted the traditional lightstation colours of white and red, it is clearly visible both from landward and seaward approaches. Originally designed as a double dwelling to accommodate the lighthouse keeper, his assistant and their families, Ferryland Head Lighthouse Keeper’s Dwelling has additional aesthetic value as a good example of a typical lightkeeper’s dwelling along the Avalon Peninsula.

Ferryland Head Lighthouse Keeper’s Dwelling has historic value due to its ties with marine transportation along the often treacherous Southern Shore of the Avalon Peninsula. Located along a major shipping route, Ferryland Head has provided navigational aid to countless ships crossing the Atlantic and journeying between Newfoundland and the North American mainland.

For the residents of Ferryland, the Lighthouse Keeper’s Dwelling is historically significant as it is a physical reminder of a profession and way of life which was an integral part of Ferryland’s history. For generations Ferryland Head has served as a beacon for local fishermen and international seafarers alike. With the automation of most lighthouses along this coast, the occupation of lightkeeping is disappearing. A fishing community from the time of its official establishment in 1621, Ferryland’s history is intrinsically tied to the sea, those who made a living from it and those who had to endure its hardships.

Ferryland Head Lighthouse Keeper’s Dwelling has cultural and sentimental value for the residents of Ferryland. Generations of families from the community have been lightkeepers, starting with the master boatbuilder Michael Kearney and ending with the Costello family. In addition, Ferryland Head as long been the site of traditional pursuits for community residents, such as berry picking and bird hunting. Of further cultural values are the oral history and legends surrounding Ferryland Head, which range from stories of shipwrecks to tales of ghosts. In 1903 the entire crew of the Danish ship Sigrid were lost near the lighthouse. In January of 1913, local men saved the crew of the Evelyn from nearby icy cliffs during a raging blizzard. One of the more famous stories associated with Ferryland Head involves assistant lightkeeper Philip Keough, who on August 14, 1883 rescued the entire crew of the Octavia and was awarded a silver medal for bravery by the Royal Humane Society.

Ferryland Head Lighthouse Keeper’s Dwelling has additional cultural value due to its association with acclaimed Newfoundland artist Gerald Squires, who lived there for several years. For two of these years he served as Artist in Residence for Memorial University’s extension program, hosting fellow artists and teaching art classes. His “Ferryland Downs” series found much of its inspiration from the rugged landscape of Ferryland Head and surrounding environs.

Source: HFNL unnumbered property file Ferryland - Ferryland Head Lighthouse Keeper’s Dwelling and Town of Ferryland Regular Council Meeting May 2, 2006

Character-Defining Elements

All original features which relate to the age and style of the building including:
-cross gable roof;
-shed roof on one storey section;
-number of storeys;
-stone foundation;
-narrow wooden clapboard;
-corner boards and waterboards;
-window size, style, trim and placement;
-size, style, trim and placement of exterior doors;
-simplicity of exterior decoration;
-typical white and red exterior paint, white being the main exterior colour with red trim; and
-dimension, location and orientation of dwelling.

All those environmental features of the lighthouse that embody the purpose of the building, including:
-unobstructed view planes to and from dwelling;
-location and orientation of dwelling in respect to the surrounding environment;
-the geographical setting of the site on Ferryland Head; and
-the location at the edge of the Atlantic ocean.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

NL Municipality

Recognition Statute

Municipalities Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type


Tourist Facility



Architect / Designer



William Campbell

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador 1 Springdale Street St. John's, NL A1C 5V5

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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