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Pomham Rocks Lighthouse

Pomham Rocks Lighthouse
 © 2004 R. Holmes 

Location: East Side of Providence River
Location: 1871 - presentL Lat 41 46 39 N - Long 71 22 10.39 W
Established: 1871

Lighthouse Constructed: 1871
Deactivated: 1974 - 2006
Reactivated: 2006
Original Illuminating Apparatus: Six-Order Fresnel lens
Second Illuminating Apparatus: Fourth Order Fresnel Lens (1935)
Third Illuminating Apparatus: 250-mm lens (2006 - 2017)
Current Illuminating Apparatus: VLB-44 (LED)
Height: Lighthouse: 40 feet (1906)
Height: Skeleton tower: 20 feet (1974 -2006)
Status: Private Aid To Navigation/Owned by American Lighthouse Foundation
Light Characteristic: Lighthouse: Fixed Red (1906) (2006 - Prensent)

Light Characteristic: Skeleton tower: Fixed Red (1974 - 2006)
Range: Lighthouse: 7½ miles (1906)
Range:lighthouse: 6 miles (1925)
Range:lighthouse: 12 miles (1935)
Range:lighthouse: 14 miles (1952)
Range:lighthouse: 6 miles (2006)
Range: Skeleton tower: 6 miles (1974 - 2006)
Fog Signal: Bell Struck By Machinery (1912)
Fog Signal Characteristic: Bell Struck 1 Times (1912)
Fog Signal Characteristic: Silent for 2.5 Seconds
Fog Signal Characteristic: Bell Struck 1 Times
Fog Signal Characteristic: Silent for 17.5 Seconds

Fog Signal Characteristic: Bell Struck 2 Times (1952)
Fog Signal Characteristic: Silent for 20 Seconds
Fog Signal Characteristic: Bell Struck 2 Times
Fog Signal Characteristic: Silent for 20 Seconds
Location: Established: Lighthouse Constructed: Deactivated: Reactivated: Original Illuminating Apparatus: Second Illuminating Apparatus: Third Illuminating Apparatus: Current Illuminating Apparatus: Height: Status: Light Characteristic: Range: Fog Signal: Fog Signal Characteristic:

Pomham Rocks lighthouse was built in 1871 on a large rock on the East Side of the Providence River. The two story wooden keeper's dwelling has a light tower attached to the roof. On December 1, just before sunset, the light's first keeper, C.H. Salisbury, climbed into the lantern room for the first time and lit the Sixth Order Fresnel lens for the first time. He remained at the light until his death in 1893.

For most of its years in service, Pomham Rocks lighthouse did not have electricity or running water. If the keeper or his family needed water, they had to get it from a well pump. In the 1950s, the Coast Guard electrified the lighthouse.

Pomham Light was discontinued in 1974. A light on a skeleton tower replaced it. The light's last keepers, Petty Officer Jerome Murry and Petty Officer Dennis Tardif, were reassigned to other stations in Rhode Island.

In July 1980, the General Service Administration, the government agency responsible for disposing of unneeded government property, put Pomham Rocks lighthouse up for auction. It received thirty bids for the light. On August 12, the bids were opened. The high bid, $40,100, was placed by the Mobil Oil Corporation (now Exxon Mobil), who has a terminal nearby.

Exxon Mobil leased the Pomham Rocks Light to the American Lighthouse Foundation in 2005. The Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse, a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation, was formed in January 2005 in East Providnece, Rhode Island. Exxon Mobil donated $50,000 to the American Lighthouse Foundation for the restoration of the lighthouse.

On a June 6, 2005 ceremony at Pomham Rocks Lighthouse, the Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse and the American Lighthouse Foundation awarded a $300,000 contract to Abcore Restoration to repair and restore the lighthouse. Abcore Restoration plans to install a new roof, rebuild the chimney, restore the siding, and repair water damage to the framing and rafters. They plan to start work immediately and finish the restoration by November 2005.

In 2006, after the exterior restoration was completed, the Coast Guard to moved the light back to the lighthouse. On August 30, 2006 the light was officially relighted by Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri.

On April 17, 2010 ExxonMobil donated the lighthouse to the American Lighthouse Founation and its local chapter, the Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse. Bob Trapani, the American Lighthouse Foundation’s director said, "We applaud ExxonMobil’s generosity in donating the lighthouse to us and its willingness to partner with us over the years to keep it a part of the Narragansett Bay landscape"

In 1980, after the government sold Pomham Rocks Lighthouse to Exxonmobil, the electricity was cut off. On October 16, 2016 Specialty Divers Services started work to restore electricity to the lighthouse. They dug a trench with a conduit from the lighthouse basement to the shoreline of the island. On October 20, 2016, Specialty Divers Services put a conduit in the trench. An electric cable was pulled through the conduit and laid underwater to the nearby shore, where it was connected to a power pole. A 900 pound transformer and circuit breaker were installed in the basement. The final cost for it was $301,000.

In July 2017 the lighthouse’s 250 mm lens was replaced with a Vega Marine LED Beacon.

On July 27, 2017 Abcore Restoration Company, Inc. was the high bidder to complete the interior restoration of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse. The cost of interior restoration was $325,000. A portion of the money to pay for the restoration came a from $150,000 grant from Rhode Island Historic Preservation & Heritage Commission and $60,000 came from a membership capital campaign and an anonymous donor. Over seventy members contributed nearly $30,000 and an anonymous donor matched this amount dollar for dollar. Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse arranged for a line of credit for the rest of the money. The work on the interior of the lighthouse started in October 2017 and will be finished in either December 2017 or January 2018.

In January 2017 the Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse joined Flickr, the image and video hosting website and uploaded over 1700 photographs. The subjects of the photographs range from the 2005 restoration to the 2016 Electric Cable Project.

Panoramic Photographs of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse

For information on the Pomham Rocks Lighthouse, contact:

Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse
Chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation
PO Box 15121
Riverside, RI 02915

Updated 10/9/2016

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