Description of Historic Place
The Lighthouse is located on Mohawk Island in Lake Erie, near Rockpoint Provincial Park. It is a tapered, cylindrical stone tower with an integrated, rectangular lighthouse keeper’s residence. The tower’s prominent stringcourse emphasizes the tower’s contrasting smooth and rusticated stonework. The lantern platform’s iron railing is supported on stone corbelling. The lantern is missing. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Lighthouse is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Lighthouse is associated with the early history of the Welland Canal, one of Canada’s most important early waterways. The canal opened in 1829 and was substantially rebuilt and improved in 1845. Construction of the Lighthouse on Mohawk Island began in 1846 to serve as a navigational aid at the southern end of the Canal.
The Lighthouse is valued for its good aesthetics and its very good functional design. The influence of the Neoclassical style can be seen in the hammer-dressed stonework, the symmetrical massing and the placement of openings. It is the only extant, stone-built, integrated lighttower and residence in Canada. The tapered stone tower remains solid and upright, testimony to the very good materials used, and also to the craftsmanship of John Brown the Scottish stonemason who built the structure.
The Lighthouse is compatible with the picturesque maritime character of Mohawk Island and Mohawk Island National Wildlife Area. The Lighthouse is familiar to the shipping community and is a regional landmark.
Sources: Joan Mattie, Mohawk Island former Lighthouse/Dwelling, Mohawk Island National Wildlife Area, Mohawk Island, Lake Erie, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 92-051; Main Duck Island Lighthouse, Mohawk Island, Lake Erie, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 92-051.
The character-defining elements of the Lighthouse should be respected.
Its good aesthetic design with classical influences, very good functional design, and very good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
- the building’s tall profile, cylindrical form and the integration of the simple residence;
- the Neoclassical design and detailing of the tower and dwelling, exhibited in the symmetrical massing of tower and dwelling, the symmetrical placement of arched door and window openings, and quoins;
- the tower’s wide string course set above the ridge level of the dwelling;
- the tower’s tall, narrow windows that punctuate alternate sides at each floor level;
- the hammer-dressed finish on the stone walls of the tower and dwelling, giving a heavily rusticated appearance.
The manner in which the Lighthouse is compatible with the picturesque, maritime setting of Mohawk Island, and acts as a regional landmark as evidenced by:
- the picturesque quality of its design and form, as seen in the height of the lighthouse in relation to the flat terrain of the island, which complements the natural island environment;
- the structure’s visibility to passing maritime traffic and familiarity to local residents, pleasure boaters and visitors to the National Wildlife Area.