PEI

Island family forms non-profit to preserve historic P.E.I. lighthouse

Members of an Island family have formed a non-profit organization with the aim of taking ownership of the Annandale Rear Range Lighthouse.

'Harbours and channels weren't safe without these lighthouses. It's worthy of being conserved'

The Annandale lighthouse, pictured two years ago, before it was moved. (Submitted by Christian Norton)

Members of an Island family have formed a non-profit organization with the aim of taking ownership of the Annandale Rear Range Lighthouse.

The new organization, comprised of Christian Norton, his sister and mother, is called Annandale Lights Inc. 

"It's been in Annandale for well over 100 years and it's probably one of the most iconic landmarks in Annandale," Norton said. 

The lighthouse in Annandale is believed to be the tallest on the Island and was built in 1901 to replace the original lighthouse that was destroyed in a storm.  

The lighthouse was first constructed to guide boats into the Boughton River from the Northumberland Strait.

The lighthouse, before it was moved further inland. The situation was serious, says Norton. (Submitted by Christian Norton)

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans said the lighthouse was recently moved from the water's edge at Juniper Point, back to a more inland spot.

Government officials have said the structure has been declared a surplus and will be transferred to the non-profit once renovations are finished.  

"Maintaining it, I suppose, is the main goal, making sure that it stays a symbol of the community," Norton said. 

Once the renovations are complete, Norton said the group hopes to preserve the lighthouse's history within the community and allow for public access so that people can enjoy it. 

It's an important piece of history.— Christian Norton

 

"We hope to have days where people can come inside and tour around it," he said. "The inside of it, it's really cool because there are names of community members from Annandale and Little Pond ... it was a habit to go in there and sign your name on the wall," he said. 

"So the walls are all full of signatures from the last hundred-odd years." 

The lighthouse was moved quite far back to make sure it didn't fall into the water. (Submitted by Christian Norton)

Norton said if the family hadn't stepped in, he believes it likely would have been taken down eventually. 

"The lighthouse has been in the community, you know, since 1901 or 1900, I believe, it's an important piece of history," he said. 

Norton attends school in the United Kingdom. He said undertaking the project was somewhat influenced by witnessing the way the U.K. takes the time to preserve historical and cultural sites.

"At one point in time, that was how we navigated, right? Harbours and channels weren't safe without these lighthouses. It's worthy of being conserved."

More from CBC P.E.I. 

With files from Angela Walker

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