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Haunted Places Series: Gibraltar Point Lighthouse

HAUNTED PLACES SERIES: GIBRALTAR POINT LIGHTHOUSE
 October 17, 2022 |  Holiday, Just for Fun |  entertaining, fall, Haunted Places Series

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Architectural Style: Hexagonal Limestone
Built: 1808

With each passing week, we take another trip across North America to some of the most intriguing (and possibly haunted) structures standing today. This week features a last vestige of war and a mysterious disappearance. On the banks of Lake Ontario, we’re visiting Toronto’s own Gibraltar Point Lighthouse!

History
As commissioned in 1803, the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse was one of three Lighthouses erected with the intention to bolster the town of York’s defenses while tensions remained uneasy between northern British holdings and the newly established United States.

Gibraltar Point was a peninsula named after the famous, strategic territory overseeing the strait between Spain and Morocco. The peninsula in Lake Ontario was thought to serve a similar purpose as a powerful fortifying point, intended to protect traveling British vessels. By 1808, the construction was complete and the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse was brought fully into service.

Quickly, the lighthouse saw considerable action, standing sentinel during the War of 1812 and standing as direct witness to 1813’s Battle of York. Over its lifetime, the lighthouse watched York become the city of Toronto, and the peninsula it stood on transformed into the Toronto Islands. Today, the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse is the oldest standing lighthouse on the Great Lakes.

John Radelmüller
While being a storied landmark of the Toronto area, the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse has also had early encounters with the macabre. The very first lighthouse keeper at Gibraltar Point was a German immigrant by the name of John Radelmüller. Serving from 1809 to 1815, Radelmüller would not see the end of the war, as he mysteriously disappeared on January 2 of 1815.

Speculation about what may have happened to Herr Radelmüller seems nearly endless, but there is one narrative that has become most prominent. As the story goes, Radelmüller was an amateur distiller back in Germany. Bringing this knowledge to the Americas, Radelmüller became rather popular among the sailors and soldiers in the area.

One night upon visiting the lighthouse, a few soldiers were becoming rowdy after a few too many drinks. When Radelmüller threatened to cut them off for the night, things turned violent. Outnumbered, Radelmüller was beaten and eventually stabbed by the end of a bayonet, resulting in his death.

To hide their crime, it is believed that the soldiers buried the lighthouse keeper’s body in pieces around the lands surrounding the lighthouse before making their escape.

The validity of this tale is hard to determine, but there have been stories of subsequent lighthouse keepers discovering bones hidden in crawl spaces and buried around the island. By the time the lighthouse was formally decommissioned in 1957, the tales surrounding that night have made the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse a staple in Toronto’s local lore.

Today
As urban legends claim, the lighthouse is most definitely haunted today, the ghost of its first keeper still loyally serving in the defense of York. Although it is closed to the public throughout the year, people are free to visit the lighthouse by foot or along a bike tour of the Toronto Islands. A testament to the city’s storied history, the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse is a beautiful monument that tourists should not miss out on!

Is your roof or foundation a horror? Schedule your next home or commercial property inspection with National Property Inspections. Our professional inspectors have seen it all!



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