Lighthouses in Southern Narragansett Bay
Beavertail Light an active lighthouse on the southern tip of Conanicut Island, is an area landmark and popular nature park.The current structure dates from 1856, when a 1749 lighthouse was replaced. Visit the Beavertail Light Museum Association site for more information. Additional information about Beavertail can be found at The Rhode Island Lights web site, along with material on several other area lighthouses.
Point Judith Light, an active light dating from 1857, is located on the western mainland. It guards the entrance to West Passage.
Castle Hill Light, built in 1890, is an active light on the eastern shore of the East Passage, just south of Newport. It is adjacent to the Castle Hill Cove Marina.
Rose Island Light, built in 1870, is a privately maintained aid to navigation situated just off Newport Harbor, near the Newport bridge. The first floor of the structure is a museum. It is accessible via the Jamestown Ferry. The Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation restored the lighthouse between the mid-1980s and 1993, maintains it and sponsors a number of educational and environmental service programs.
The Newport Harbor Light on Goat Island is another active East Passage light. Built in 1842, it marks the Newport Harbor entrance. It is located adjacent to the Hyatt Regency Hotel.
Dutch Island Light, in West Passage, is on the southern tip of Dutch Island, between Conanicut Island and the western mainland. Built in 1857, the light was deactivated in 1947. After years of deterioration, the light was leased to the Dutch Island Lighthouse Society, which has resulted in its refurbishment. Beginning November 2007, it has been reactivated with a new solar-powered light.
Plum Beach Light, a sparkplug-type lighthouse built in 1857, is located north of Dutch Island, in West Passage, almost beneath the Jamestown-Verrazano Bridge, from which it can be seen clearly from the westbound side. In 1941, following construction of the original Jamestown Bridge, it was judged to be unnecessary for navigation, and was deactivated. The deteriorated lighthouse was acquired by a group, The Friends of Plum Beach Light, which restored the exterior and installed a low power, Coast Guard approved light in late 2003.
The decommissioned Conanicut (North Point) Light guarded the northern tip of the island from 1886 until 1932. The lighthouse is now a private residence.
The Rhode Island lighthouse menu site provides information on a total of 30 present and former Rhode Island lights (20 of which are still standing). If you can't get enough of Beavertail, it will tell you more about the history of the light, provide more photographs, copies of old postcard views and information on the Beavertail lighthouse museum; as well as tell you about cruises that will take you past this and other lighthouses. The lighthouse menu also has information on Point Judith Light, Castle Hill Light and Rose Island Light.
The Lighthouse Directory provides current information on the status of all 13 active and 8 inactive Rhode Island lighthouses, including the latest news regarding access and preservation activities. It is an indispensible site for anyone who is seriously interested in these fascinating structures.
The National Park Service Maritime History Program has compiled an Inventory of Historic Light Stations in Rhode Island. Pictures and information are provided for twenty-one lightstations.
Current and former Rhode Island light stations are also listed in a Coast Guard website. A brief history and technical data summary is provided for each and an historic photo (or two) accompanies each description. These are often one-of-a-kind photos taken during periods of military activity at the site (WW-I and WW-II).