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Beacon of Light in Gravenhurst

June 9, 2022 in Uncategorized


Mesqua Ukee, or Muskoka, has both an ancient and recent history. The lakes of Muskoka were formed millennia ago and inhabited by peoples unknown and known. But this small beacon, as described for its original construction, is situated on the south-east point of Denison’s Island, at the northern entrance of Gravenhurst Narrows. It is to be fixed white dioptric light, shown from a lantern hoisted on a mast 25 feet high, and is elevated 23 feet above water mark, and should be visible 10 miles from all points of approach.

The group named Lighthouse Friends explains that David Schell was appointed the first keeper of the light at an annual salary of $100 in the 1880s. By 1905 a more permanent fixture was installed. At the site of the old pole light, the pole and shed were removed. The tower would be an enclosed, square wooden building, with sloping sides, surmounted by a square, wooden lantern, the whole painted white. It would be 27 feet high from its base to the top of the ventilator on the lantern, and rests on a masonry foundation 4 feet high. The light is a fixed white dioptric light of the sixth order, elevated 28 feet above the level of the lake, and visible seven miles from all points of approach by water.

By 2017, decades of wear and tear had taken a toll on the light house and there were discussions about replacing it with something modern. Local efforts to preserve the 110-year-old structure prevailed, and it was restored with modern materials in a manner that preserved its historic character.

By Tim Du Vernet

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