Description of Historic Place
This single storey wood framed building has a gable roof and wood shingle cladding. A flagstaff extends from one of the gable ends. It is located on the shore at the north end of the Northport harbour. A slipway was once connected to the building, but has been replaced by a boardwalk. The small building is part of the Northport Pier Complex which includes an inn, restaurant, specialty shops, and mooring for pleasure craft.
The building is valued as an early example of a surviving former sea rescue station established by the Canadian Government in the early 20th century.
It was constructed in 1907 in the aftermath of a tragic event which occurred the previous year on November 15, 1906. On that day, the sixty ton vessel, the "A.J. McKeen" became grounded on a nearby sandbar in a fierce gale. The vessel was owned by the prominent merchant, J.H. Myrick, and was captained by Tom DesRoches and his crew of three.
The efforts of local men including: Captain John Champion, Dan Fraser, John McCabe, William Smith, George MacBeth, William Leavitt, Frank Skerry, Charles McNeill, Charles Perry, James Tuplin, and Jim Cahill were successful in rescuing the three crew. However, Captain DesRoches was lost with the ship.
The Department of Transportation established the station the next year. It housed a life boat constructed by Beebe-McLellan of Shelburne, Nova Scotia for $225. Captain John Champion became the first coxswain and received an annual salary of $75.
The station remained operational until the mid 1920s when it was sold to John C. Matthews, a local fisherman, who used the property to store his lobster boat and gear. Later owners included Bryden Smith in 1928 and Clarence Powers in 1932, who hauled the structure and used it as a dwelling.
In 1967, the building was donated by Hubert Fraser and moved to its current location. As a centennial project sponsored by the Town of Alberton, the West Prince Chamber of Commerce, and the Provincial Tourism Association, the building was renovated by Philip Kinch.
Since 2003, it has been part of the Northport Pier Complex and serves as an interpretive centre.
Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Tourism and Culture, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4310-20/A38
The heritage value of the Sea Rescue Station is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the single storey elevation
- the wood frame and wood shingle cladding
- the gable roof with flagstaff
- the square two-over-two windows
- the location and style of the various doors
- the identity signs on the exterior
- the location of the property with views of the harbour, lighthouse, wharf, and Oulton's Island