Lighthouses of the United States: Rhode Island

Small in size but long in coastline, Rhode Island has 21 lighthouses, 13 of them active, plus at least 6 former light stations where ruins or foundations are visible. Six of the smaller surviving towers are privately owned.

Although there is no state preservation society, interest in lighthouse preservation is strong. Impressive work has been done at the two Block Island towers, at Rose Island, at Watch Hill, at Sakonnet Point, and more recently at Plum Beach and Dutch Island.

Jeremy D'Entremont's book, The Lighthouses of Rhode Island (Beverly, Mass.: Commonwealth Editions, 2006) is an excellent resource for the study of Rhode Island lighthouses.

Navigational aids in Rhode Island are operated by the U.S. Coast Guard First District, but ownership (and sometimes operation) of historic lighthouses has been transferred to local authorities and preservation organizations in many cases.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume J of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. USCG numbers are from Vol. I of the USCG Light List.

General Sources
New England Lighthouses: A Virtual Guide - Rhode Island
Excellent photos and good data on all the lighthouses. The primary links for each lighthouse are to this site.
Rhode Island Lighthouses
Photos and brief accounts by Kraig Anderson of LighthouseFriends.com.
Rhode Island Lighthouse History
An informative website maintained by Richard Holmes.
Online List of Lights - Rhode Island
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Lighthouses in Rhode Island, United States
Aerial photos posted by Marinas.com.
Lighthouses in Rhode Island
Photos available from Wikimedia.
Coast Guard Lighthouses - Rhode Island
Historic photos and notes posted by the U.S. Coast Guard Historian's office.
National Maritime Inventory - Rhode Island
National Park Service inventory of Maine lighthouse data.
Leuchttürme USA auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images of U.S. lighthouses posted by Klaus Huelse.


Point Judith Light, Narragansett, November 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Ted Kerwin

Newport County Lighthouses

Little Compton Lighthouse
Sakonnet
1884. Reactivated (inactive 1955-1997); focal plane 70 ft (21 m); flash every 6 s, white to the east and red to the west. 66 ft (20 m) round cast iron sparkplug tower (brick lined) with lantern, double galleries above and lower gallery, incorporating 3-story keeper's quarters, mounted on a concrete caisson. The original 4th order Fresnel lens is on display at the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland, Maine. Lighthouse painted white except for a red band around the base of the lantern. Peter Bond's photo is at right, Anderson has a good page for the lighthouse, Robert English has a great 2006 photo, Trabas has a good photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view from shore. The lighthouse was repaired after it was damaged by the Great Hurricane of 1938. After it was damaged again, by Hurricane Carol in 1954, the Coast Guard decided to deactivate and demolish the lighthouse. The lighthouse was saved from destruction and restored by private efforts and local fundraising. In 2005, a grant of $843,000 to restore the tower was approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Friends of Sakonnet Lighthouse raised an additional $170,000. Work began in the summer of 2010 and continued in stages over a two-year period, with completion in July 2012. The friends group received the Rhody Award for its work on this restoration. Marking the entrance to the Sakonnet River estuary, the lighthouse stands on the westernmost of a group of rocky islets and ledges, 800 yards (730 m) southwest of Sakonnet Point in Little Compton (end of RI 77). Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: Friends of Sakonnet Point Lighthouse. ARLHS USA-718; Admiralty J0523; USCG 1-17577.

Sakonnet Light, Little Compton, October 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Peter Bond

Newport Lighthouses
* Castle Hill
1890. Active; focal plane 40 ft (12 m); red light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 34 ft (10 m) round granite tower with lantern and gallery, 300 mm lens. Fog horn (1 s blast every 10 s). Upper half of tower painted white, lower half unpainted; lantern painted black. Several web sites report erroneously that the keeper's house was demolished in the 1930s. In fact, the 2-story brick keeper's house stands near Castle Hill Cove, a few hundred feet from the lighthouse; D'Entremont has a photo of the house (about 2/3 the way down the page). Anderson also has a fine page for the station, Trabas has a photo by Ronald Wöhrn, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Bing has an aerial view. A traditional location for weddings, this lighthouse is accessible by a short walk from the nearby Castle Hill Cove Marina (where parking is available), or (if you're a guest) from the adjacent Castle Hill Inn. Located at Castle Hill Point at the southwestern end of Newport. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-144; Admiralty J0530; USCG 1-17795.
Ida Lewis Rock (Lime Rock)
1854. Inactive since 1927 (a decorative light is now displayed in season). 13 ft (4 m) lantern mounted on one corner of a 2-story granite and brick keeper's house. The original 6th order Fresnel lens is on display at the Museum of Newport History. Building painted white, lantern black. Anderson also has a good page for the lighthouse, Huelse has a historic postcard view, Google has a distant street view, and Bing has an aerial view. This tiny lighthouse is famous for its legendary keeper Ida Lewis (1857-1911). The light was moved to a skeletal tower in 1927 and discontinued in 1963; the skeletal tower was demolished. The lighthouse building, including modern additions, is now part of a yacht club, and the island has been connected to the mainland by a causeway. Located off Wellington Avenue between Chastellux and Halidon Avenues in Newport. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: Ida Lewis Yacht Club. ARLHS USA-398.
* Newport Harbor (Goat Island) (2)
1842 (station established 1823). Active; focal plane 33 ft (10 m); continuous green light. 35 ft (10.5 m) octagonal granite tower with lantern and gallery, 250 mm lens. The keeper's house was demolished in 1923 after being damaged when a submarine ran aground on the island. Anderson's page has several good photos, Trabas has a fine photo, Oliver Lopena has a good 2006 photo, Marinas.com has excellent aerial photos, Google has a street view, and Bing has an aerial view. The original (1823) lighthouse was relocated to Prudence Island in 1851; see below. The present tower stands on a foundation of granite blocks. The lighthouse is adjacent to a hotel, the Hyatt Regency Newport. In 2000 the Coast Guard leased the tower to the American Lighthouse Foundation for preservation. ALF organized the Friends of Newport Harbor Light, and in June 2005 the foundation announced a $120,000 restoration plan. In November 2005, the 1772 Foundation granted $25,000 toward the restoration, and initial work was completed in 2006 by the Abcore Restoration Company. In late 2006 a fence (seen in Dana Jensen's photo) was built around the pier on which the lighthouse stands, so that visitors can safely access the tower. Located on the northern tip of Goat Island in Newport Harbor; the island is accessible by a bridge from RI 238 in downtown Newport and the lighthouse is accessible by walking through the hotel lobby. Site open, tower closed. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: Friends of Newport Harbor Light. ARLHS USA-548; Admiralty J0540; USCG 1-17850.
Newport Harbor Light
Newport Harbor Light, Newport, September 2012
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Robert and Pam Counselman
** Rose Island
1870 (Albert Dow, designer). Reactivated (inactive 1971-1993, now maintained by the Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation); focal plane 48 ft (14.5 m); white flash every 6 s. 35 ft (10.5 m) octagonal cylindrical wood tower with lantern and gallery, mounted on a 2-story Empire-style wood keeper's house. Brick oil house (1912) and brick fog signal building (1912). Building painted white; lantern black. Jenna Robbins's photo is at right, Anderson has a good page for the lighthouse, Trabas has a view from the harbor, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Google has a distant street view from the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge, and Bing has an aerial view. Sibling of Colchester Reef Light, Vermont. Since 1992, the lighthouse has been carefully restored to its 1912 appearance. The first floor of the building is a museum; the second floor has two guest rooms available year-round for one-week stays by volunteer caretakers. In 2005, a federal grant of $330,000 was awarded for repairs and improvements at the light station. In 2013 a new, historically accurate 6th order Fresnel lens was installed. Located on the southwestern tip of Rose Island, in the center of Narragansett Bay between Newport and Jamesown and just south of the Newport Bridge. Accessible during the summer by the Newport-Jamestown ferry (toll). Site restricted in bird nesting season (April 1 to August 15), otherwise open; lighthouse open to visitors July 1 through Labor Day (admission fee); guided tours available in other months. Owner: City of Newport. Site manager: Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation. ARLHS USA-703; Admiralty J0543; USCG 1-17857.
[Gull Rocks (1)]
1887. Inactive since 1928. The A-frame keeper's house (two lights were mounted at the peak ends of the roof) was demolished in 1970. The lighthouse was replaced by a square skeletal tower, which was deactivated and demolished in 1970. The original oil house survives. The Coast Guard has a historic photo of this unusual light station, Google has a street view, and Bing has an aerial view of the former station. Located on a tiny island almost directly under the Newport Bridge (RI 138) between Jamestown and Newport. Accessible only by boat. Site status uncertain. Owner/site manager: unknown. ARLHS USA-362.
Rose Island Light
Rose Island Light, Newport, September 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Jenna Rose Robbins

Jamestown (Conanicut Island) Lighthouses
Note: Conanicut Island lies in the center of Narragansett Bay, dividing the bay into the East Passage and the West Passage. The island is connected to Newport on the east and to North Kingstown on the west by bridges on Rhode Island highway 138.
**** Beavertail (3)
1856 (station established 1749). Active; focal plane 68 ft (21 m); white flash every 6 s, day and night. 45 ft (14 m) square cylindrical granite tower with lantern and double gallery, attached to a 2-story stucco-clad brick keeper's house (1856); DCB-24 aerobeacon (1991). The tower is unpainted granite; lantern and watchroom painted black; keeper's house white with red roofs. Fog horn (3 s blast every 30 s). The assistant keeper's house (1898) houses a museum; the 4th order Fresnel lens used 1907-1991 is on display. Rick Payette's photo is at right, Anderson has a good page for the station, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Google has a street view, and Bing has an aerial view. This is the nation's fourth oldest light station (after Boston MA, Tybee Island GA, and Brant Point MA). The foundations of the 1749 lighthouse remain visible. The Beavertail Lighthouse Museum Association works for preservation of the light station. BLMA is coordinating a plan for ownership by the State of Rhode Island and Town of Jamestown with the BLMA as the site manager in anticipation of the property being declared excess under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. BLMA operates the museum in the assistant keepers's house and a custodian presently resides in the principal keeper's house. The fog signal building houses an aquarium operated by the state Department of Environmental Management. In 2006, BLMA announced plans for expansion of the museum into all six structures on the light station when the station becomes available for transfer. In early 2008, the Champlin Foundation granted $227,000 for restoration of the light tower; Trabas has a photo showing this work in progress. Also in early 2008, the Coast Guard rejected a request from the town to lease the keeper's house to a caretaker. Instead, the house was restored and opened as an expansion of the museum in 2013. Located on Beavertail Point on the southern tip of Conanicut Island in Jamestown. Site open daily; museum open daily mid June through Labor Day and on weekends in late spring and early fall; tower open on several days during the summer. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: Beavertail Lighthouse Museum Association and Beavertail State Park. ARLHS USA-048; Admiralty J0624; USCG 1-17780.
Beavertail Light
Beavertail Light, Jamestown, June 2011
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Rick Payette
Dutch Island
1857. Reactivated (inactive 1979-2007); focal plane 56 ft (17 m); red flash every 6 s. 42 ft (13 m) square cylindrical brick tower. The keeper's house, formerly attached to the tower, was demolished in 1950. Anderson's page has good closeup photos, Trabas has a view from the sound, C.M. Hanchey has the 2013 photo at right, Huelse has a historic postcard view of the complete station, Google has a very distant street view from across the East Passage, and Bing has an aerial view. Gravely endangered by neglect, vandalism, and decay, the lighthouse was placed on the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List. In 2000 the American Lighthouse Foundation leased the lighthouse from the Coast Guard and helped start the Dutch Island Lighthouse Society to work for restoration of the lighthouse. In 2001, the 250 mm lens used in the lighthouse prior to 1947 was returned by a nearby resident who had held it for safekeeping for 20 years; it is now on display at the Lighthouse Foundation's museum in Wells, Maine. In 2005, a $120,000 federal grant was obtained, and plans for a complete restoration were announced in June 2006. In July 2007, a contract was awarded to Abcore Construction to carry out the restoration, and on November 17 the light was reactivated. Robert English has a September 2007 photo taken while the work was in progress, and the DILS website has a photo of the fully restored lighthouse. Lighthouse Digest has D'Entremont's article on the last keeper at the lighthouse. Located on the southern tip of Dutch Island, a wildlife management area in the middle of the West Passage of Narragansett Bay between Jamestown and Saunderstown. Visible from Fort Getty Recreation Area in Jamestown. Accessible only by boat; since 2000 the island has been closed to the public due to dangers from collapsed cisterns and bunkers. Site and tower closed. Owner: Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. Site manager: Dutch Island Lighthouse Society. ARLHS USA-250; Admiralty J0621; USCG 1-19101.
Conanicut Island
1886. Inactive since 1933. 42 ft (13 m) square cylindrical wood tower with gallery, attached to a 2-story wood keeper's house. Lantern removed. Building painted red with white trim. The barn (1897), oil house (1901), and fog signal building (1907) also survive. Anderson has a good page for the lighthouse, Ken Zirkel has a photo, Allan Camp has a 2012 photo, Google has a street view through trees, and Bing has an aerial view. This station has been a private residence since 1933. The light was moved to a 40 ft (12 m) skeletal tower, but that tower has been removed. Located at the end of Summit Avenue, at the northern tip of the island. Site and tower closed; there are good views only from the water. Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS USA-185.
Dutch Island Light
Dutch Island Light, Jamestown, August 2013
Flickr Creative Commons photo by C.M. Hanchey

Portsmouth Lighthouses
* Prudence Island (Sandy Point)
1823 (relocated from Goat Island near Newport in 1851). Active; focal plane 28 ft (8.5 m); green flash every 6 s. 30 ft (9 m) octagonal granite tower with a very rare nineteenth-century "birdcage" lantern; 250 mm lens. Lighthouse painted white, lantern black. The keeper's house was destroyed by the hurricane of 1938. Anderson has a fine page with several photos, Charles Bash's photo is at right, Trabas has a view from the sound, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Bing has an aerial view. This is Rhode Island's oldest surviving lighthouse and an unusual example of a small, early nineteenth century light tower. In 2000 the Coast Guard leased the lighthouse to the American Lighthouse Foundation for preservation, but after local protests this lease was transferred in 2001 to the Prudence Conservancy. In 2002 Conservancy members refurbished the lighthouse, repairing the foundation and painting the tower and lantern. Located at Sandy Point, a sharp point of land on the east side of the island. Accessible by ferry from Bristol (toll; reservations required for cars; one mile walk from ferry to lighthouse). Site open, tower closed. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: Prudence Conservancy. ARLHS USA-675; Admiralty J0566; USCG 1-18125.
Hog Island Shoal
1901. Active; focal plane 54 ft (16.5 m); white light, 3 s off, 3 s on. 60 ft (18 m) round cast iron sparkplug tower, incorporating 2-story keeper's quarters, with lantern, two upper galleries and lower gallery, mounted on a granite caisson; 250 mm lens. Lighthouse painted white with black trim, lantern black. Fog horn (two blasts every 30 s). Anderson also has a fine page for this lighthouse, Trabas has a photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, the Smithsonian Institution has a historic postcard view, and Google has an aerial view and a very distant street view. The Coast Guard renovated and repaired the tower in 1995. In 2004, the lighthouse became available for transfer under NHLPA, but no preservation groups came forward to apply for it. In October 2006, the light was sold at auction for $165,000 to Jon and Juli Chytka of South Dakota. Located on a shoal off the southeastern end of Hog Island, about 500 m (0.3 mi) east of the Musselbed Shoals light. Accessible only by boat; good views from the Prudence Island ferry. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS USA-373; Admiralty J0570; USCG 1-18145.
[Musselbed Shoals (3)]
1939 (station established 1873). Active; focal plane 26 ft (8 m); red flash every 6 s (also displays red, white and green directional lights). 20 ft (6 m) square cylindrical skeletal tower on a concrete pad resting on the ruins of a granite pier; the tower also carries red triangular daymarks. D'Entremont has a photo, Trabas has a closeup, and Google has an aerial view and a street view from the Mount Hope Bridge. The modern light replaces an 1879 lighthouse that stood on the same pier until destroyed by the hurricane of 1938. Located off the northern end of Aquidneck Island opposite Bristol Ferry, marking the entrance to Mt. Hope Bay from Narragansett Bay. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-959; Admiralty J0572; USCG 1-18150.
Prudence Island Light
Prudence Island Light, Portsmouth, August 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by C.W. Bash

Bristol County Lighthouses

Bristol Lighthouse
* Bristol Ferry
1855. Inactive since 1927 (a decorative light is sometimes displayed). 34 ft (10 m) square cylindrical brick tower with lantern and gallery, attached to the original 1-1/2 story keeper's house. The cast iron lantern was removed in 1928 but replaced by a mahogany replica in 1996. Building painted white, lantern and gallery black. T.M Weddle's photo is at right, Anderson's page has good photos, D'Entremont has a 2007 photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has an aerial view. The lighthouse was deactivated when the Mount Hope Bridge was built over it, connecting Portsmouth and Bristol. After deteriorating for many years, the lighthouse was restored by its owner in 1992 and sold in early 2000 for $400,000. Located on Ferry Road in the shadow of the north end of the Mount Hope Bridge (RI 114) in Portsmouth. Site and tower closed (private residence). Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS USA-087.

Barrington Lighthouse
Nayatt Point
1856. Inactive since 1868 (a decorative light is displayed). 25 ft (7.5 m) square cylindrical brick tower attached to a 2-story keeper's house (1828). A 4th order Fresnel lens (1863) from a lightship is mounted in the lantern. House painted white; lantern roof is red. Anderson has a good page for the lighthouse, Ken Zirkel has an excellent photo, and Google has a street view and an aerial view. The tower is charted as a daybeacon. Long used as a private residence, the house has been considerably expanded over the years. It was on the market in 1997 and sold in 2001 to Neil and Christine Feins for $1.375 million. Located at Nayatt Point in Barrington, opposite the Conimicut lighthouse (see below); there's a view from the end of Nayatt Road. Site and tower closed. Site manager: private. ARLHS USA-532.
Bristol Ferry
Bristol Ferry Light, Bristol, October 2010
Flickr Creative Commons photo by T.M. Weddle

Providence County Lighthouses

East Providence Lighthouses
[Bullock's Point]
1876. Inactive since 1938, when the lighthouse was heavily damaged by the great hurricane of that year. The lighthouse was demolished around 1940. An active light (focal plane 29 ft (9 m); white light occulting every 4 s) is on a square skeletal tower mounted atop part of the stone crib that supported the building. Trabas has a closeup photo, D'Entremont has a Lighthouse Digest article on the station's history, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located off Bullock's Point about 2 miles (3 km) north of Nayatt Point. Accessible only by boat. Site closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-092; Admiralty J0592; USCG 1-18345.
* Pomham Rocks
1871 (Albert Dow, designer). Reactivated (inactive 1974-2006); focal plane 54 ft (16.5 m); continuous red light). 40 ft (12 m) octagonal cylindrical wood tower with lantern and gallery, mounted on a 2-story Empire-style wood keeper's house. The 4th order Fresnel lens used here from 1939 to 1974 is on display at the Custom House Maritime Museum in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Fog signal building demolished, but the oil house survives. Building painted a cream color, lantern and gallery black; red roof. Maureen Reilly's photo is at right, Anderson has a good page with several photos, Trabas has a good photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has an aerial view. Sibling of Colchester Reef Light, Vermont. In January 2005, Exxon Mobil leased the lighthouse (at no cost) to the American Lighthouse Foundation. ALF organized the Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse to work for restoration and reactivation of the lighthouse. Restoration work by the Abcore Restoration Company was nearly complete by the end of 2005, and ceremonies relighting the lighthouse were held on 30 July 2006. D'Entremont has a Lighthouse Digest article on the restoration. In 2007, volunteers refurbished the retaining wall that protects the lighthouse. On 17 April 2010, Exxon Mobil transferred ownership of the station to the Friends group. In May 2013, fundraising was underway for interior restoration of the lighthouse; at least $500,000 is needed. Located just off the east shore of the river off the foot of Willett Avenue in Riverside. There are good views from the East Bay Bike Path along the river. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse. ARLHS USA-643; Admiralty J0602; USCG 1-18555.
[Fuller Rock (3)]
1997 (station established 1872). Active; focal plane 31 ft (9.5 m); red light, 3 s on, 3 s off. Square skeletal tower mounted on a round granite pier. Trabas has a photo, and Google has an aerial view. The pier originally carried a 14 ft (4 m) pyramidal wood lightbeacon. The beacon was destroyed in February 1923 when a tank of acetylene fuel exploded, injuring five workmen. The present light is listed as Providence River Light 42. Located on a rock in the Providence River off Kettle Point, near the Squantum Woods Park. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-957; Admiralty J0604; USCG 1-18580.
Pomham Rocks Light
Pomham Rocks Light, East Providence, October 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Maureen Reilly

Kent County Lighthouses

Warwick Lighthouses
Conimicut (Conimicut Shoal)
1883. Active; focal plane 55 ft (17 m); white flash every 2.5 s (red sector covers dangerous shoal). 58 ft round cast iron sparkplug tower, incorporating 3-story keeper's quarters, with lantern, two upper galleries and lower gallery, mounted on granite caisson; 250 mm lens. Lighthouse painted white with black trim, lantern black. Fog horn (two blasts every 30 s). C.W. Bash's photo at right, Anderson has a good page for the lighthouse, Trabas has a photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has an aerial view and a distant street view. Ownership of the lighthouse was transferred to the city of Warwick on 30 September 2004. In December 2005 the state Department of Transportation announced the award of $560,000 in federal transportation enhancement funds to restore the lighthouse. The city formed the Conimicut Lighthouse Foundation to manage and operate the lighthouse. In 2014, the city was considering leasing the lighthouse to Nick Korstad, the owner of the Borden Flats Lighthouse in Massachusetts, who would renovate the tower and open it for overnight stays. Located on a shoal in mid-river; good views from Conimicut Point Park in Warwick. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: City of Warwick. ARLHS USA-188; Admiralty J0590; USCG 1-18305.
Warwick (2)
1932 (station established 1826). Active; focal plane 66 ft (20 m); green light occulting every 4 s, day and night. 51 ft (15.5 m) round steel tower with lantern and gallery; 250 mm light (1985). Fog horn (2 s blast every 15 s). The 1-1/2 story wood Victorian keeper's house (1889) is used as Coast Guard housing. Buildings painted white, lantern black; roofs red. Anderson has a page for the lighthouse with good photos, Trabas has an excellent closeup, Robert English has a photo, and Google has a street view and an aerial view. Huelse has a historic postcard view of the original lighthouse. After the 1938 hurricane, the lighthouse was relocated 50 ft (15 m) inland to escape beach erosion. In September 2012, the officer occupying the keeper's house retired, and the Coast Guard was considering whether to transfer ownership of the lighthouse. Located at the end of Warwick Neck Road in Warwick. Site and tower closed; there's a limited view from the gate at the end of Warwick Neck Road. Best views are from the water. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-871; Admiralty J0608; USCG 1-19345.

Conimicut Light, Warwick, August 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by C.W. Bash

Washington County Lighthouses

North Kingstown Lighthouses
[Wickford Harbor]
1882. Inactive since 1930. The original lighthouse was a square wood tower attached to a 1-1/2 story keeper's house, mounted on a round pier. The lighthouse was demolished shortly after it was deactivated in 1930. An active light (focal plane 20 ft (6 m); green flash every 6 s) on a 15 ft (4.5 m) square cylindrical steel skeletal tower stands on remnants of the original stone foundation. Trabas has a closeup photo, D'Entremont has a photo (near the bottom of the page), Huelse has a historic postcard view, Google has a street view, and Bing has an aerial view. Located off the south side of the entrance to the harbor. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-891; Admiralty J0610; USCG 1-19135.
Poplar Point
1831. Inactive since 1882. 45 ft (14 m) octagonal wood tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-1/2 story wood keeper's house. House painted gray, light tower white, lantern roof black. Anderson's page has several photos, and Bing has an aerial view. The light was moved to the new Wickford Harbor Light in 1882. A private residence since 1894, the house has been much enlarged. However, the well-preserved light tower is the oldest surviving wooden lighthouse in the U.S. In January 2010, the lighthouse and the surrounding estate were placed on the market for an eye-opening $7.5 million; this was reduced to $6.45 million in November 2011. It was still for sale as of April 2013. Located at the entrance to Wickford Harbor in North Kingstown. There's a good view from Sauga Point on the other side of the harbor entrance. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS USA-647.
Plum Beach
1899. Reactivated (inactive 1941-2003, now privately maintained); focal plane 54 ft ((16.5 m); white flash every 5 s. 53 ft (16 m) round cast iron sparkplug tower with lantern, double galleries above and lower gallery, incorporating 3-story keeper's quarters, and mounted on a cast iron caisson. A photo by C.M. Hanchey is at right, Anderson's page has "before" and "after" photos, Trabas has a photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Google has a street view, and Bing has an aerial view. Previously abandoned and rusting, the lighthouse spent years on the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List. A long dispute over ownership was settled in favor of the State of Rhode Island in 1998, and in 1999 the Friends of Plum Beach Lighthouse received ownership and a $500,000 grant for restoration from the state. After several years of planning and preliminary work, the restoration project was carried out during the summer and fall of 2003. The Digest has a December 2003 feature article on the project. In 2010 the lighthouse was repainted using funds obtained through sales of the special license plate featuring the lighthouse. Located just north of the Jamestown Bridge (RI 138). Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: Friends of Plum Beach Lighthouse. ARLHS USA-604; Admiralty J0615; USCG 1-19130.
Plum Beach Light
Plum Beach Light, North Kingstown, August 2013
Flickr Creative Commons photo by C.M. Hanchey

Narragansett Lighthouses
[Whale Rock]
1882. Inactive since 1938, when the lighthouse, a cast iron sparkplug tower, was destroyed by the great hurricane of that year. Part of the cast iron and concrete caisson remains; Bing has an aerial view. Huelse has a historic postcard view of the lighthouse before the disaster. In 2004 the wreckage of the lighthouse was discovered by undersea archaeologist David Robinson. The shoal is now marked by a buoy with a gong. Located on a dangerous ledge about 500 m (0.3 mi) offshore and one mile west of Beavertail Point on the other side of the West Passage. The ruins are visible from Beavertail Light and from the end of Cormorant Road on the mainland. ARLHS USA-883; USCG 1-19090.
* Point Judith (3)
1857 (station established 1810). Active; focal plane 65 ft (20 m); white light displayed in an unusual pattern: 5 s on, 2 s off, 2 s on, 2 s off, 2 s on, 2 s off. 51 ft (15.5 m) octagonal brownstone tower with lantern and gallery; original 4th order Fresnel lens in use. Upper half of lighthouse painted brown, lower half white; lantern and gallery are black. Fog horn (2 s blast every 15 s). Active Coast Guard Station. The keeper's house was demolished in 1954; the oil house (1917) and fog signal building (1923) survive. Ted Kerwin's photo is at the top of this page, Anderson has a good page for the lighthouse, Britten has a photo, Trabas has an excellent photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, Google has a fuzzy street view, and Bing has an aerial view. A $200,000 Coast Guard project restored the lighthouse during 2000; the lantern and lens were refurbished, glass replaced, and the brownstone tower repaired. Located at the end of RI 108 in Narragansett. Site open daily (free), tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard (Station Point Judith). ARLHS USA-625; Admiralty J0628; USCG 1-19450.

New Shoreham (Block Island) Lighthouses
Note: Block Island is a fragment of the same glacial ridge that forms the south fork of Long Island, New York. It is about 21 km (13 mi) south of the mainland and a similar distance east northeast of Montauk Point, New York. The island is accessible by ferry from Point Judith year round and in the summer also from New London, Connecticut, from Providence and Newport, Rhode Island, and from Montauk, New York. The permanent population is about 1000.
*** Block Island North (4)
1868 (station established 1829). Reactivated (inactive 1973-1989; privately maintained since 2010); focal plane 58 ft (17.5 m); white flash every 5 s. 55 ft (17 m) octagonal cylindrical granite tower with lantern and gallery, attached "schoolhouse" style to the front of a 2-story granite keeper's house; 190 mm lens. Light tower and lantern painted red; the rest of the building is unpainted granite. A photo is at right, Anderson's page has several photos, Trabas has Michael Boucher's closeup photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Bing has an aerial view. Other lighthouses of this "Long Island schoolhouse" design were built at Morgan Point, Sheffield Island, and Great Captain Island, Connecticut, and at Plum Island and Old Field Point, New York. There is a museum in the first floor of the building; the original 4th order Fresnel lens is on display. The lighthouse was renovated in 1985-89 by North Light Commission, efforts culminating in the return of the light on 5 August 1989. However, by 2000 it was clear that a thorough restoration of the entire building was needed. Fundraising began, and in June 2002 the town received a $400,000 federal grant. Since the proposed work required temporary removal of the light tower, the light was moved to a temporary skeletal tower in late 2003. In the spring of 2006 the Fresnel lens was restored for later reinstallation in the tower. In early 2008, Campbell Construction submitted the lowest bid for a $500,000 restoration of the lighthouse. The lantern was removed (as seen in a July 2008 photo) for restoration on the mainland. Dan Paquette's July 2009 photo shows the lantern restored and work on the building ongoing. Kasia Krasniak's September 2009 photo shows the external part of the project completed. The lighthouse was relit on 23 October 2010. Located at the north point of the island within the limits of the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge. Accessible by an easy 0.5 mile (0.8 km) trail from the end of Corn Neck Road. Site and museum open daily mid June through early September and on weekends until mid October, tower closed. Owner: Town of New Shoreham. Site manager: Block Island North Light Commission. ARLHS USA-061; Admiralty J0642; USCG 1-19481.
Block Island North Light
Block Island North Light, New Shoreham, May 2010
Flickr Creative Commons photo by hatchski
**** Block Island Southeast
1875. Reactivated (inactive 1990-1994); focal plane 261 ft (79.5 m); green flash every 5 s, day and night. 52 ft (16 m) octagonal cylindrical brick tower with lantern and double gallery, attached to a massive, 2-1/2 story brick Gothic double keeper's house; 1st order Fresnel lens (1856, removed from Cape Lookout NC in 1980 and installed here in 1994). The tower and keeper's house are unpainted red brick; lantern and watch room painted black. Fog horn (3 s blast every 30 s). Charles Bash's photo is at right, Anderson has a fine page for the lighthouse, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Bing has an aerial view. This is the highest light in New England. Designed as a showpiece for the Lighthouse Board, this impressive building is recognized as a National Historic Landmark. The entire 4-million-pound (1.8 million kilogram) structure was relocated 360 feet (110 m) in 1993 to escape erosion of the bluffs. In 1999 the lighthouse received $475,000 for restoration, and in 2000 another $300,000 was received. The New England Lighthouse Lovers donated another $40,000 in October 2003. The restoration began in August 2003 and was completed in the summer of 2005. The assistant keeper's house was developed as a museum. Located on the Mohegan bluffs at the southeast corner of the island. Site open; lighthouse and tower open daily July 1 through early September, and on weekends through mid October. Owner/site manager: Block Island Southeast Lighthouse Foundation. ARLHS USA-062; Admiralty J0650; USCG 1-0640.

Block Island Southeast Light, New Shoreham, August 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by C.W. Bash

Westerly Lighthouse
** Watch Hill (2)
1857 (station established 1807). Active; focal plane 61 ft (20.5 m); flash every 2.5 s, alternating red and white. 45 ft (14 m) square cylindrical unpainted granite tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 2-story brick keeper's house; VRB-25 lens. The lantern is painted white with a red roof. Fog horn (3 s blast every 30 s). The keeper's house (painted white with a red roof) houses a resident caretaker. There is a small museum in the oil house; the original 4th order Fresnel lens and its rotating mechanism are on display. Active fog signal building (1909). Anderson's page has excellent photos, Trabas has a good photo, a 2008 photo is available, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view of the station. Sibling of the Beavertail Light (see above). This is a very well preserved light station. Located on Watch Hill Point at the end of Lighthouse Road in Westerly. The only parking at the lighthouse is for senior citizens and the disabled; other visitors must walk from town (about 15 minutes each way). Site open; museum open on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons during July and August. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: Watch Hill Lighthouse Keepers Association. ARLHS USA-872; Admiralty J0658; USCG 1-19795.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

  • Block Island Breakwater Inner and Outer (1876-?), Block Island
  • Brenton Reef (1962-1989), off the entrance to Narragansett Bay. The light tower was replaced by a lighted whistle buoy. ARLHS USA-082; USCG 1-17685.
  • Gould Island (1889-1960), West Passage, Jamestown. It is said that the oil house survives, but Bing's aerial view does not show it. The modern Gould Island South Light is at the opposite end of the island. ARLHS USA-958; USCG 1-17960.
  • Great Salt Pond Breakwater Inner and Outer (1898-?), Block Island. ARLHS USA-1274 (Inner) and 1275 (Outer).
  • Sabin Point (1872-1968), Providence River. The light was replaced by a daybeacon. ARLHS USA-715; USCG 1-18455.
  • Sassafras Point (1872-1912), Providence River. ARLHS USA-962.

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: East: Southern Massachusetts | West: Connecticut

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Posted May 16, 2001. Checked and revised April 4, 2014. Lighthouses: 21. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.