Since 1870 the Lighthouse at Ferryland Head has stood as a beacon to passing ships. At times a stark warning of the dangerous jagged shores, at times a comforting reminder to sailors that they were not alone in the pitch-black night.
The lighthouse is still operational; however it has been automated since 1970. For the 100 years previous, the lighthouse was staffed by families who lived in the two-family dwelling.
The first lightkeeper was the famous Newfoundland ship builder Michael Kearney and the first assistant keeper was William Costello. Over the next 100 years the Costello family would be the primary keepers of the light at Ferryland Head right up until 1970, when Billy and Kathleen Costello were the last family of lighthouse keepers. Newfoundland’s renowned artist Gerald Squires and his family lived in the lighthouse dwelling during the 1970s and it is here that Gerald completed some of his finest work including ‘The Ferryland Downs’ series. Once Gerald and his family moved, the lighthouse dwelling was abandoned for over 20 years and fell into major disrepair.
In our second year of Lighthouse Picnics we started the restoration of the building and it was quite the feat. With lots of hard work, enthusiasm, food and fun we reopened the lighthouse in June 2004.
Ferryland is not to be missed on your visit to Newfoundland, Canada. Founded in 1621 by Lord Baltimore, the community’s history is as colourful as you will find anywhere. Its history is not that of a sleepy fishing community. From its founding days in 1621, the community was destined for great things and troubled times.
While Baltimore eventually chose warmer climates, the community grew through hard work, tenacious spirits, quick wit and humour. Our history is interspersed with battles, which saw heroic women shoot off cannons in defence of the community, attacks by privateers, horrific shipwrecks and heroic rescues.
Ferryland is now best known for its beauty, historic riches and vibrant arts community.