Built in 1845, the Point Prim lighthouse is the first and oldest lighthouse on Prince Edward Island and one of only a few round brick lighthouses in Canada.
In the early 19th century, sea trade between Canada and Europe increased rapidly and so did shipwrecks and disasters at sea. As Charlottetown grew it required more merchandise and as shipping traffic increased, so did the number of shipwrecks along our shores.
The demand for a guiding beacon into Charlottetown Harbor peaked in 1841, when the colony’s General Assembly was petitioned by concerned merchants and ship owners.
There was great debate about where the Lighthouse should be built. Lieutenant Governor Charles Fitz Roy wrote letters to captains of the Royal Navy requesting their opinion. Finally it was agreed that the best place for general use in navigating the Northumberland Strait, would be Point Prim.
It took 3 years for the Assembly to agree upon and appropriate the proper funding and location for a lighthouse. Finally in 1844, an advisory committee, submitted a report, recommending a tower, 60 feet in height.
At that time, the prominent architect Isaac Smith, who had designed Government House and would later design Province House, drew up the plans for the lighthouse tower. On March 31, 1845, a delegation of 22 men traveled over the ice in horse drawn sleighs for the purpose of surveying the site for the intended lighthouse.
The group included architect Isaac Smith,the land surveyor L.W. Gall, and William Douse, the land agent. The Point Prim acreage was owned by the Earl of Selkirk. It was his wish to donate this 9 acre property to the Colony for the prestigious Point Prim Lighthouse.
For more info about Isaac Smith click here.
List of Lighthouse Keepers
- John Ings 1846-1854
- Ewen MacLeod 1854-1857
- John Gillies and Donald MacPherson 1857
- Finlay MacDonald 1857-1867
- Simon Murchison 1867-1870
- Finlay MacDonald 1870-1872
- Alex John MacRae 1872-1873
- Michael MacLeod 1873-1910
- Alex John MacRae (Sandy) 1910-1912
- Simon A. McLean 1912-1920
- Angus Murchison 1920-1955
- Manson Murchison September 1st-7th 1955
- Norman Gillis September 8th 1955-February 23rd 1956
- Manson Murchison 1956-1969
Manson was the keeper until the light was made automatic on March 10th, 1969. Click here to view video of interview with Manson Murchison
For more information on PEI’s lighthouses, check out The PEI Lighthouse Society’s Website