Description of Historic Place
The Terence Bay Lighthouse is an eight metres (26 feet) high square, tapered, wooden tower topped by an electric fixed fluorescent red light. Built in 1903, it replaced the original pole light that was erected in 1885. The light is located on Tennant Point in the small fishing village of Terence Bay. The lighthouse forms part of a chain of small coastal lights around the southeastern shore of Nova Scotia.
The Terence Bay Lighthouse is a heritage lighthouse because of its historical, architectural, and community values.
The Terence Bay Lighthouse is a very good example of the efforts by the federal government to make marine navigation safer for coastal communities. It was constructed as a harbour light to warn of potential dangers in Terence Bay and to guide ships towards Halifax harbour. The Terence Bay Lighthouse is associated with the sinking of the steamship passenger liner, SS Atlantic, on April 1, 1873. The ship struck a rock just off Mars Head in the waters of Terence Bay resulting in the death of 562 people, the largest marine disaster until the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. The lighthouse is also associated with the Jollymore family. Staffed from 1884 until 1957, the first lighthouse keeper was Peter Jollymore and last was Hezron Jollymore.
The Terence Bay Lighthouse facilitated the safe operation of marine activities associated with the fishery in the village and surrounding area. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Terence Bay developed an extensive fishery with a fish plant where fish were salted, processed and shipped out for sale. By the late 1930s, the fishing industry was so profitable that most employment in the community was generated to support the fishery. Aside from fishing, the sailors and fishermen were also involved in ‘rum running’ to Maine during prohibition.
The Terence Bay Lighthouse is a very good example of a square, tapered, wooden tower, with a flared cornice that supports the gallery. The lighthouse’s design is based on a standard Department of Transport plan and it is characterized by its balanced proportions, elegant profile, and uncomplicated detailing. The Terence Bay Lighthouse is noteworthy because is retains many of its original interior and exterior elements.
Set on granite rock 14.6 metres above sea level, Terence Bay Lighthouse is a striking structure on the horizon of Terence Bay. It reinforces the maritime character of the area with its picturesque white and red exterior that vividly contrasts with the blue water, and the rock and grass that surround it. The lighthouse also makes a distinct contribution to its setting on a rocky coastline indicating nearby settlement and a safe harbour.
The Terence Bay Lighthouse is the symbol of the local community. It is a commonly visited tourist site as well as a well-known site for its rugged, granite terrain, providing ample opportunity for cranberry picking, birding, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, and storm watching. The lighthouse is also a source of inspiration for local artists and a common destination for summer camps and elementary schools. It remains closely linked to the marine history in Terence Bay, and in particular, as a reminder of the sinking of the SS Atlantic.
There are no related buildings included in the designation.
The following character-defining elements of the Name Lighthouse should be respected:
— its location on Tennant Point in Terence Bay;
— its intact, as-built form and proportions, based on the standard design of square, tapered, wooden - towers;
— its square-wood frame structure with tapered sides;
— its flared cornice that supports a square gallery;
— its simple iron railing surrounding the gallery;
— its wooden entry-door and the door and window surrounds that project vertically from the tapered sides and are capped with a pediment;
— its square concrete base and steps leading to the door;
— its original four over four window panes;
— its original interior and exterior elements, including the interior wall boarding that consists of 2-by-6 inch planks cut on the diagonal for strength;
— its original narrow white clapboard siding, with the exception of the smooth surface treatment of the cornice;
— its traditional exterior colour scheme, consisting of white for the tower, cornice, and gallery, and red for the gallery railing and its door; and,
— its visual prominence in relation to the water and landscape.