Rhode Island Lighthouse History

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Bullock Point Lighthouse

Bullock Point Lighthouse
© 2004 R. Holmes 

Location: Providence River near Bullock Point
Location: 1872 - present lLat 41 44 15.761 N - Long 71 21 51.102 W
Established: 1872

Lighthouse Constructed: 1876
Removed and Replaced with a Skeleton Tower: 1939
Original Illuminating Apparatus: Six-Order Fresnel Lens
Second Illuminating Apparatus: Fourth Order Fresnel Lens (1935)
Third Illuminating Apparatus: 375-mm lens (1952)
Current Illuminating Apparatus: 250-mm lens
Height: Lighthouse: Light 35 feet from base (1906)
Height: Skeleton tower: 20 feet (2005
Status: Active Aid to Navigation/ skeleton tower
Light Characteristic: Lighthouse: Fixed White (1906)
LightCharacteristic:Lighthouse: Fixed Red (1935)

Light Characteristic: Skeleton Tower: Flashing Red every 5 seconds (1952)

Light Characteristic:Skeleton TowerOcculting White every 4 seconds (2005)
Range: Lighthouse: 7 miles (1906)
Range:Lighthouse:5 miles (1925)
Range:Lighthouse:12 miles (1935)
Range: Skeleton Tower: 7 miles (1952)
Range:SkeletonTower:6 miles (2005)
Fog Signal: Bell Struck By Machinery (1912)
Fog Signal Characteristic: Bell Struck 2 Times (1912)
Fog Signal Characteristic: Silent for 15 Seconds
Fog Signal Characteristic: Bell Struck 2 Times
Fog Signal Characteristic: Silent for 15 Seconds
Location: Established: Lighthouse Constructed: Removed and Replaced with a Skeleton Tower: Original Illuminating Apparatus: Second Illuminating Apparatus: Third Illuminating Apparatus: Current Illuminating Apparatus: Height: Status: Light Characteristic: Range: Fog Signal: Fog Signal Characteristic:

In 1860, the Lighthouse Board built a day mark on the shoal off Bullock Point to help ships avoid it as they traveled up the Providence River. As ship traffic increased on the river, the owners and captains of ships using it petitioned to have a light placed on the day mark. In 1872, in response to the petitions, the Lighthouse Board placed a portable beacon on it.

In 1874, Congress appropriated $15,000 to build a permanent keeper's dwelling and light tower on Bullock Point. While the new light was being built, the portable beacon was removed and was replaced with a temporary light on a stake. The keeper's dwelling and light tower were completed and lighted in 1876.

On September 21, 1938, one of the most powerful hurricanes in history hit Rhode Island. During it, the light's last keeper, Andrew Zuius would live up to the best traditions of the Lighthouse Service. Hurricane driven wind and waves battered Bullock Point for hours. Suddenly a huge wave tore away part of one wall. Water poured into the lighthouse. Andrew tried to put a mattress in the hole, but it was no use. Another wave hit and took out the wall on the other side of the lighthouse. Water kept pouring into the lighthouse. Zuius had to go to the light's second floor, so he wouldn't be washed out of the light. Just minutes after he climbed the stairs to the second floor, a huge wave tore them away. Andrew kept the light burning through the night. The next morning someone came out and got him. Even thought the light was wrecked, he continued to tend it, while he lived on shore with his family. Andrew was transferred to Palmer Island Lighthouse in 1939, when Bullock Point Lighthouse was closed. He retired from the lighthouse service in 1944.

The remains of the lighthouse were removed in 1939. It was replaced with a light on a skeleton tower.

Bullock Point Lighthouse in 1900
Bullock Point Lighthouse
 Courtesy of N.L. Stebbins

See more of Bullock Point Lighthouse in Rhode Island Lighthouses: A Pictorial History at by R Holmes.

Updated 11/20/2012

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