The Beavertail Lighthouse history goes back to the 18th century. The township of Jamestown which was one of the original 13 Colonies, has records telling about a wooden tower being constructed in 1749. At the time it was known as the ‘Newport Light’. The original source of light back then was illuminated by a controlled fire.
The original tower burned down sometime in 1753. It was rebuilt with stone which I suppose was a bit safer than wood. In 1779 during the American Revolution, The British destroyed the lighthouse and stole the optics.
The lighthouse today stands 64 feet tall and still guides wayward vessels into the Narragansett Bay. From the tip of the Conanicut Island you can see the Castle Hill Lighthouse, Point Judith and Rose Island Lights. The view from the point is absolutely amazing.
Many parts of the Narragansett Bay are very rocky. With shifting currents and unpredictable weather, an experienced Captain could easily get in serious trouble. This is the reason for having lighthouses at various points.
The lighthouse was rebuilt in 1816. The current structure which is granite bricks, was erected in 1856. It is 65 feet high and is equipped with both a light and whistle. The shrieking sound can be heard a lot better than a horn over the pounding surf.
There are a couple of interesting side notes regarding this particular lighthouse that I would like to share. Did you know that during the end of WWII, the last known German Submarine sank just two-miles off the lighthouse’s point. Another historical fact is since the American Revolution, the Beavertail lighthouse has been occupied by the Coast Guard. The Department of Homeland Security also has a branch office there as well.
The Pomham Rocks Lighthouse was our last stop on this amazing tour. This beacon of light was established in 1871 on a small outcropping of rock on the Providence River. It’s also the northern most lighthouse in the Narragansett Bay. It is approximately 200 yards off shore in a small community in lower East Providence. This is one of 3 similar designed lighthouses built by the award winning architect Albert Dow.
A replica of the Pomham Lighthouse was featured in an Academy Award nominated film titled, what else, “The Lighthouse”. The creator of this prop is Kurt Fosburg. The famous Lampist and his assistant recently returned the Fresnel Lens back to its rightful place. There is a park-and-walk in a nearby neighborhood. Beside scheduling a private tour, here is where you can get the best viewing of the lighthouse.
This concludes our Rhode Island Lighthouse Tour. I hope you enjoyed this adventure as much as I have. These profound monuments shine their piercing light through fog, rough weather and the darkest of night. They are a boatman’s saving grace as a control tower is to a pilot. Our next adventure will also relate to ocean going vessels, but in a much different light. Enjoy the brief video below and we will see you soon. Stay Tuned!
Photography: Anthony & Maureen Scopel
Video: Anthony & Maureen Scopel
Article Creator & Formatting: Anthony Scopel
Video Production: Anthony Scopel & Matt Kemper
Associate Editor: Maureen Scopel
Technical Mastering & Web Support: Matt Kemper
Publishing Provide By: You, Me and The Dock
“Special thank you to my wonderful wife who followed me around all day helping me chase my passion for lighthouses!”