Light Hearted

Light Hearted ep 109 – Joe Flemming, Chris Mills; Sambro Lighthouse, Nova Scotia

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The brightly striped red and white tower on Sambro Island, near Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, is the oldest lighthouse in the Americas. The first act passed by the Nova Scotia House of Assembly, on October 2, 1758, authorized the lighthouse. It was paid for by a tax on vessels entering Halifax Harbour. The station was automated and destaffed in 1988. Of three keepers’ houses built in the 1960s, one was demolished for salvage in 1989 and another was burned down in 2007.

Sambro Lighthouse, Nova Scotia, Canada. Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.
Joe Flemming

The Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society succeeded in having the lighthouse designated as a classified federal heritage building in 1996. Two years later, the tower was reshingled and repainted. In 2008, more restoration work was completed and a solar power system was installed. Another major restoration project was carried out in 2016. A new local nonprofit organization has also been formed to preserve the lighthouse: the Sambro Island Lighthouse Heritage Society.

Chris Mills served as a lighthouse keeper in Canada for nine years at 11 light stations on both coasts. (Courtesy of Chris Mills)

Joe Flemming, who lives in Ketch Harbour, Nova Scotia, is a past president of the Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society, and he has played a large role in the preservation of Sambro Lighthouse. Chris Mills is a former lighthouse keeper and the author of two books on lighthouses and keepers, and he was a founding member of the Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society.

A 2016 video showing the restoration:

Use this player to listen to the podcast episode:

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