Pieces of the Past
Since 1840, a lighthouse has kept watch over Cape Forchu and the approaches of Yarmouth Harbour.
In 1962, the original lighthouse was replaced with the iconic "apple core" structure that towers over the Cape today.
The red bricks you see, scattered all over this beach, including a retaining wall now covered by bushes, are all that remains of Cape Forchu's 1891 fog alarm building, which was demolished in 1940. The fog alarm was a vital part of operations at the light station. When fog and storms obscured visual navigational aids such as lighthouses, fog alarms sounded signals to warn mariners of rocks, shoals, headlands, and other dangers.
Cape Forchu's first fog alarm was a bell, installed in 1857. The bell was then replaced, in 1868, by a steam whistle, which was housed in an earlier structure on site, until the whistle was moved to the 1891 for alarm building. In 1919, the whistle was replaced by a diaphone horn, or foghorn, known for its groaning "beeee-ohhhh" sound.
[Photo captions read]
· Picnic at Yarmouth light, looking north, 1906. The 1891 fog alarm building is located a far right.
· Lightkeeper Herbert Cunningham operating the foghorn compressor, which helped power the fog alarm, c. 1935.
· The 1891 Fog Alarm Station at Cape Forchu, circa 1906.
If you are in Yarmouth County during the summer and early fall months, at low tide, you may see fishermen in small, deep-bottomed boats filled with what looks like seaweed. They are harvesting rockweed, a commercially important sea plant throughout Yarmouth County and Nova Scotia's Southwestern shore.
Rockweed (Ascophyllum nodosum) a common seaweed that carpets our Atlantic shores, is gathered using small hand-held cutter rakes.
It is then processed to extract compounds called alginates, which are used to stabilize and thicken foods such ice cream, puddings, chocolate milk, salad dressings, and cosmetic products such as lipstick. Rockweed is also processed into kelp meal, which is used as fertilizer and food for livestock. The rockweed gathered from this region goes into products that are exported worldwide.
The Town of Yarmouth
Just beyond Yarmouth Harbour is the Town of Yarmouth. The town, and its surrounding area, was settled by New England Planters in 1761, however the Acadians and the Mi'kmaq had inhabited these lands centuries earlier. By the late nineteenth century, Yarmouth was a major seaport, engaged in trade with the West Indies, Boston, and New York. Evidence of Yarmouth County's maritime prosperity can still be seen in the elaborate Victorian architecture of homes once occupied by ship owners and sea captains.
the sea remains the economic and cultural backbone of Yarmouth and the many communities throughout Yarmouth County. Located in [the] heart of the world's richest lobster fishing grounds, this region also lands many other species of fish, including groundfish, herring, scallops, swordfish, and tuna, making it Canada's most lucrative fishery. Located on Nova Scotia's Southwestern shore and situated in the Gulf of Maine, Yarmouth is close to the Northeastern United States (by land or sea), as well as Halifax, Moncton and Saint John. Yarmouth is a year-round destination where visitors can explore an array of outdoor adventures, local food and culture, as well as historic sites and attractions.
[Photo captions read]
· Yarmouth Bar
· Port of Yarmouth, c.1871
What can you see from here?
Look up the cliff and you will see the iconic Cape Forchu "apple core" lighthouse. It is the second lighthouse to stand here. The first lighthouse was established in 1840.
All along the beach there are remnants of the 1891 fog alarm building, which was a vital part of operations at the Cape Forchu Lightstation.
To your right, is Yarmouth Harbour where rockweed harvesting takes place. Just beyond the harbour, and straight ahead, is the Town of Yarmouth.