Location: East Providence, Rhode Island (View Map)
Coordinates: 41° 46′ 39″N 71° 22′ 10″W
Over the past seven years the Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse have worked extremely hard to preserve the 1871 Pomham Rocks Lighthouse located in the upper reaches of Narragansett Bay.
This grand beacon has seen its exterior restored to former luster, and a new docking system established at the island over which it presides. In addition, volunteers have been dedicated to keeping the landscape in pristine shape while spending untold hours ‘bringing their offshore lighthouse to land” through a variety of educational and community outreach efforts.
Quick Lighthouse Facts:
- Year Built: 1871
- Height of Tower: 42 feet
- Location: Off rocks, east side of channel. – Reference: 1939 U.S. Lighthouse Service Light List
- Automated: 1959
- Status: Active aid to navigation owned by the American Lighthouse Foundation. The Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse – a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation, is dedicated to restoring the historic lighthouse.
Light Station Historical Facts…
Pomham Rocks Lighthouse was constructed in 1871 and consisted of a wooden eight-room dwelling with a light tower attached to the front of the building’s roof. The light was equipped with a sixth order Fresnel lens that showed a light 67 feet above sea level and was visible for 12 nautical miles.
According to lighthouse historian Jeremy D’Entremont, “A fog siren was installed at Pomham Rocks in 1900. One newspaper called the new signal, “The Greatest Nuisance in the State.” As complaints from local residents mounted, the continuous horn was soon changed to a three-second blast at 12-second intervals. Three years later a fog bell replaced the siren.”
Due to its location on a rock 800 feet from shore, the lighthouse was slow to receive normal upgrades such as electricity and telephone. In fact, the lighthouse never did receive running water. It wasn’t until the late 1950s that electric was provided to the lighthouse. Prior to that, the refrigerator and stove ran on kerosene and a windmill supplied power for a radio. The light’s lens was upgraded to a fourth order in 1939 and remained in use until the beacon was automated in 1974. The lens is now on display at the Custom House Maritime Museum in Newburyport, Massachusetts.
Mobil Oil Company purchased the lighthouse from the General Services Administration in 1980. ExxonMobil forged a partnership with the American Lighthouse Foundation in 2005 to restore and preserve the lighthouse. In 2010, ExxonMobil donated the lighthouse and island to the American Lighthouse Foundation .
Local ALF Chapter Information:
Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse
P.O. Box 15121
East Providence, RI 02915