Partridge Island, located in St. John, NB, served two important roles in its history.
At times, it was a defensive position, protecting the city from as early as 1800 right through until 1947. During this period, it also served as the first quarantine station in Canada with a hospital being built in 1830. During the 1840's, the Great Famine hit Ireland, bringing as many as 30,000 immigrants here. Of those, over 600 died and were buried on the island. By the 1890's, over 78,000 immigrants per season were being processed, but with much fewer deaths.
A 9-gun battery was constructed in earthworks surrounding the original lighthouse during the War of 1812, which included a blockhouse and magazine.
In 1878, the island was strengthened with the possibility of war with Russia looming on the horizon. Two 8-inch guns, two long 68-pounder guns, one 32-pounder gun, and one 18-pounder gun were installed.
From that point, little else was built here, from a military perspective, until World War I. Initially, the defenses were inadequate to their intended task, but in 1915, six 4.7-inch field guns were installed. By the time World War II broke out, the defenses were, again, inadequate. Two 6-inch naval guns, and additional field guns were added to the island.
This was an adventure right from the start. The breakwater over which we walked to get to the island is a little over 1.5 km in length. The rocks are large, and you really have to watch your step. It took a significant amount of time just to get there, and the heat didn't help.
Once there, a path, a white rope, and a sign painted on a rock guided us to the top of the steep incline to this historical treasure trove that just kept revealing more and more as we looked around. There's something for everyone here. If you like views, the panorama is beautiful. If you like tunnels and underground rooms, it has that too. If you like old stone foundations, you won't be disappointed.