Rhode Island Lighthouse History

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Newport Harbor Lighthouse
(Goat Island Lighthouse)

Newport Harbor Lighthouse

Location: North End of Goat Island
Location: 1823 - 1842 Lat 41 29 30 N - Long 71 19 38 W
Location: 1842 - present l Lat 41 29 36 N - Long 71 19 37 W
Established: 1823

Original Lighthouse Constructed: 1823
Current Lighthouse Constructed: 1842
Automated: 1963
Original Illuminating Apparatus: Eight Lamps and Reflectors (1823)
Second Illuminating Apparatus: Fourth Order Fresnel lens (1857)
Third Illuminating Apparatus: Fifth Order Fresnel Lens
Fourth Illuminating Apparatus: 250-mm lens
Current Illuminating Apparatus: 300-mm lens (1994)
Height: 35 feet
Status: Active Aid to Navigation/Leased to the American Lighthouse Foundation
Light Characteristic: Fixed White (1873)

Light Characteristic: Fixed White for 15 seconds (1894)
Light Characteristic: 5 second eclipse

Light Characteristic: Fixed Green (2005)
Range: 11 miles (1873)
Range: 10 miles (1906)
Range: 11 miles (2005)
Location: Established: Original Lighthouse Constructed: Current Lighthouse Constructed: Automated: Original Illuminating Apparatus: Second Illuminating Apparatus: Third Illuminating Apparatus: Fourth Illuminating Apparatus: Current Illuminating Apparatus: Height: Status: Light Characteristic: Range: Fog Signal: Fog Signal Characteristic:

Goat Island Lighthouse was built on the Northern tip of the island, in 1823, to marked the shoal that extended out from the island. A six-room keeper's dwelling was built near the light. Even with the light, ship rounding the northern part Goat Island at night would sometimes go aground on the shoal.

In 1837, a stone tower and granite pier was built on the northern tip of the shoal. It remained unlighted until 1842, when a breakwater connecting it to Goat Island was completed. The original light was discontinued and its lighting apparatus was moved to the new light tower. The old light was moved to Prudence Island in 1852.

With its move off of Goat Island the light was renamed the Newport Harbor Lighthouse in the 1850's. A fourth order Fresnel lens was placed in the light in 1857. A new keeper's dwelling, attached to the light, was built in 1864.

On June ninth, 1912 a launch from the destroyer Mayrant was taking eight sailors back to the ship. A squall hit the launch and capsized it, throwing the sailors into the water near the lighthouse. Charles Schoeneman, Newport Harbor's lighthouse keeper, recused three of the sailors. Boats from other Navy ships in Newport Harbor saved the rest of the sailors.

In 1921, a submarine hit the breakwater, damaging the keeper's dwelling. An electric light was placed in the tower the following year. The damaged keeper's dwelling was later torn down.

In 2000, the Coast Guard leased the light to the American Lighthouse Foundation.

See more of Newport Harbor Light in Rhode Island Lighthouses: A Pictorial History by R Holmes.

For information on the American Lighthouse Foundation, contact:

The American Lighthouse Foundation
P.O. Box 565
Rockland, ME 04841

Updated 10/9/2016

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