NL GenWeb Place Information

West Coast - Codroy District

Cape Anguille

Cape Anguille is a French name which means "a place to launch boats." A ship went aground there in 1898, and this was a major influence in determining that the lighthouse should be put there. In 1907, construction was begun on the lighthouse which was to be one of 28 Canadian Government Lighthouses on the west coast of the island. Funds came from the Quebec government and parts and equipment for it came from France. By 1908, construction was completed and the lighthouse was offici ally opened in August of 1908.

It was approximately 100 feet high, steel reinforced, and had 118 steps leading to the light. The tower was constructed of cement, which had to be poured by hand. There was a vapor light on top, and each day 150 pounds of kerosene oil had to be carried up to it.

The first change in the lighthouse came about in 1930, when the diesel switched from being steam operated to oil operated. In 1959 a smaller horn was installed and electric generators were placed into operation. By the late 1950's, the lighthouse was in very poor condition. The cement deck around the top of the lighthouse was crumbling. It is believed that the cause of this was the either the salt air acting on the cement or that it was due to salt water being mixed with the cement when it was poured in the construction days of the lighthouse. At any rate, the tower was becoming too dangerous for use and had to be replaced.

Construction on the new tower began in 1959 with funds from the federal government. The tower was completed in 1960 and placed into operation. The new tower is approximately 50 feet high and has 3 sets of stairs leading to an electric light. It was also constructed of cement. A new horn was established in 1971 in the key of 'G'. The old foghorn was in the key of 'A'. The only building that now remains on the grounds that was part of the original lighthouse complex is a small shed that stands next to the present lighthouse. It was built to store the oil used in the original lighthouse light and is now simply used for storage. However, this shed is in poor condition, and it is likely it will be torn down soon.

A double house was built on the grounds in 1907 by another Quebec department for the use of the lighthouse keeper and his family and for the assistant lighthouse keeper. Although the building was to be used by 2 families, it was only used by one. The partition separating the two apartments was removed and it was used as a 6 bedroom home. The building was occupied by Mr. Alfred Patry and his family, and then by his son, second lighthouse keeper, Mr. Gus Patry. They lived there until 1968 when Mr. Patry moved into a smaller house he had built on the property and the assistant lighthouse keeper moved into the home. He stayed a short period of time but the building has remained unoccupied for a number of years and has been allowed to deteriorate to a condition almost beyond repair.

Mr. Alfred Patry owned the first radio and telephone at Cape Anguille and immediate area. As lighthouse keeper he needed some form of communication, especially during the wars. He reported any radio conversations which he overheard between the German warships and submarines. The submarines were known to submerge in front of the lighthouse because they usually picked up the horn and the light on radar. Some Germans did come on the island as they were known to be seen around the docks and in the store at leas t once, out of uniform.

The present lighthouse keeper, Mr. Gus Patry is the son of the original lighthouse keeper, Mr. Alfred Patry. He was hired in 1907 by a Quebec Department to man the lighthouse. He and his wife came to Cape Anguille and he worked there until the last of June, 1943 for 36 years. His son, Gus, then took over the operation and still is the lighthouse keeper today. It is likely that Mr. Patry will be the last lighthouse keeper at Cape Anguille. The lighthouse is now in the first phase of a three phase automation program. The first phase began around 1971, when new equipment was purchased and installed. The second phase is due to begin in 1978 when more of this equipment is put to use. The third phase will begin when the Mr. Patry retires. Neither he nor the government is exactly sure when this will be.

The above data was written by unknown high school students from a school in the Stephenville area in 1978, transcribed by Brenda Janes and posted to the Internet in July 1999 by Stephen Baker.

© Brenda Janes & NL GenWeb

Codroy District