Rhode Island Lighthouse History

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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)
Current Illuminating Apparatus: 250-mm lens
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: 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"


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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