The Telephone

December 31, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

Kidston Island Light_NSKidston Island Light_NS The Telephone -

Alexander Graham Bell, his wife Mabel and two young children found this part of upper Nova Scotia to their liking, when in 1885 on a cruising vacation to Newfoundland, they first discovered this area including Bras d'Or Lake. Within several years, the Bells acquired 600 acres on the peninsula seen in the distance behind the lighthouse. This area of the small peninsula was renamed Beinn Bhreagh by Bell, meaning "beautiful mountain" in the Scotish Gaelic or Goidelic language, since it was reminiscent of his birthplace in Edinburgh Scotland. A small house was built on the property overlooking Baddeck Bay to the south from the property and with clear views of the original lighthouse built in 1875 on Kidston Island (formerly known as Mutton Island).

By 1893 the Bells had completed a larger, turreted 'summer house' with a mere 32 rooms that has become known as The Point. The purchase of the land and the building of the mansion was primarily possible due to Bell's invention and subsequent patent of the telephone in 1876. In his adjacent laboratories and on site boatyard, Bell along with other partners, went on to accomplish additional experiments such as the tetrahedral kite, the Canada's first controlled powered flight airplane, known as the AEA Silver Dart in 1909, and the HD-4 Hydrofoil boat in 1919. The boat was intended to be used as a submarine chaser and did set a world watercraft speed record at the time of 114 km/h (71mph). Bell and his wife both passed away in 1922 and are buried on their estate. 

The first lighthouse, built in 1875 on the NE tip of Kidston Island was intended to light the way for mariners into Baddeck Harbour. It was operationally replaced with a fifty foot tall, more visible light in 1912. However, both towers remained in place for many years but the original tower was razed in 1959 after falling into disrepair. By 1991, the second tower built in 1912, received a major replacement and the result is as seen in the photo above. Access to Kidston Island and the lighthouse is only by way of scheduled tour boats. This photo was shot with a 500mm telephoto lens with tripod from the shores of the harbour in the town of Baddeck.


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