Cove Island Lighthouse construction began in 1855 with a crew that consisted of 7 masons/stone cutters, 10 laborers, 1 blacksmith, 1 foreman, and 3 horses. While under construction, the crew kept a light burning on the island by placing a lantern at the top of the unfinished tower. The lamp itself underwent several transformations starting with an Argand lamp fueled with sperm whale oil, then a flat wick coal oil lamp, replaced with an oil vapor light about 1900. Vapourized kerosene was burned to keep the beacon aglow. An on-site generator provided electricity during the 1950s and in 1971, an underwater power cable was laid from Tobermory to the island.