Rhode Island Lighthouses

Poplar Point Lighthouse

Poplar Point Light
© 2004 R. Holmes

Location: Entrance to Wickford Harbor
Location: 1831 - present lLat 41 34 16 N - Long 71 26 21 W
Established: 1831

Lighthouse Constructed: 1831
Discontinued: 1882
Original Illuminating Apparatus: Eight Argand Lamps with reflectors (1831)
Second Illuminating Apparatus: Sixth Order steamer lens (1855)
Current Illuminating Apparatus: None
Height: 37 feet
Status: Private Residence
Light Characteristic: Fixed White (1855)

Light Characteristic: None (2005)
Range: None (2005)
Location: Established: Lighthouse Constructed: Discontinued: Original Illuminating Apparatus: Second Illuminating Apparatus: Current Illuminating Apparatus: Height: Status: Light Characteristic: Range:

On March 3, 1831, Congress appropriated $3,000 for a beacon at or near the entrance to Wickford Harbor. A site on Poplar Point, at the Southern entrance to the harbor was chosen and purchased from Thomas Albro for $300.

Charles Allen of Kingston, Rhode Island built Poplar Point Lighthouse, a stone keeper's dwelling with an octagonal wooden light tower attached to the roof, in 1831. Samuel Thomas, Jr was appointed Poplar Point's first keeper in November of that year. He was paid $300 a year.

Poplar Point Lighthouse's illuminating apparatus consisted of eight Argand lamps with concave reflectors arranged around two hoops. The Argand lamp looks like a kerosene lamp. The reflector was 14 inches in diameter and weighed three pounds. In 1855, they were replaced by a sixth order steamer lens and an Argand lamp.

The lighthouse was discontinued in 1882. It was replaced by the Wickford Harbor Lighthouse.

On October 15, 1894, Poplar Point Lighthouse was sold, at public auction, to Albert R. Sherman for $3,944.67. In later years, it was added to, by subsequent owners, altering its original appearance.

In the late 1980's Russel and Kathy Shippee purchased Poplar Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse was in need of renovation. They had two options, renovate the existing structure or preserve what could be preserved and to redo the rest. They chose the second option. They tore down the one story northwest wing and replaced it with a two story structure. They gutted the rest of the house. They replaced the plumbing and wiring, added insulation, re-plastered the walls and replaced all 54 windows in the house.

Polpar Point Lighthouse and Wickford Harbor Lighthouse in 1900
Rose Island Lighthouse
 Courtesy of N.L. Stebbins

See more of Poplar Point Lighthouse in Rhode Island Lighthouses: A Pictorial History by R Holmes.

Updated 5/11/2021