Rhode Island Lighthouse History

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Wickford Harbor Lighthouse


Wickford Harbor Lighthouse
Courtesy of Coast Guard Historisn's Office




Location: On Old Gay Rock at entrance to Wickford Harbor
Location: 1882 - presentl Lat 41 34 24 N - Long 71 26 12 W
Established: 1882

Lighthouse Constructed: 1882
Removed and Replace With a Skeleton Tower: 1930
Original Illuminating Apparatus: Fifth-Order Fresnel Lens
Second Illuminating Apparatus: 375-mm lens (1935)
Current Illuminating Apparatus: 250-mm lens
Height: Lighthouse: Light 42 feet from ground (1906)
Height: Skeleton Tower: Light 50 feet above the water (1940)
Height:SkeletonTower:25 feet (2005)
Status: Active Aid to Navigation/ Skeleton Tower
Light Characteristic: Lighthouse: Fixed White (1906)

Light Characteristic: Skeleton tower: Flashing White every 1.5 seconds (1935)
Light Characteristic:Skeletontower:Flashing Green every 3 seconds (1940)
Light Characteristic:Skeletontower:Flashing Green every 6 seconds (1950)
Range: Lighthouse: 12 miles (1906)
Range:Lighthouse: 11 miles (1925)
Range: Skeleton tower: 11 miles (1935)
Range:SkeletonTower8 miles (1952)
Range:SkeletonTower6 miles (2005)
Fog Signal: Bell Struck By Machinery (1912)
Fog Signal Characteristic: Bell Struck 1 Times (1912)
Fog Signal Characteristic: Silent for 20 Seconds
Fog Signal Characteristic: Bell Struck 1 Times
Fog Signal Characteristic: Silent for 20 Seconds
Location: Established: Lighthouse Constructed: Removed and Replace With a Skeleton Tower: Original Illuminating Apparatus: Second Illuminating Apparatus: Current Illuminating Apparatus: Height: Status: Light Characteristic: Range: Fog Signal: Fog Signal Characteristic:


The Lighthouse Board built the Wickford Harbor Lighthouse in 1882 to replace the aging Poplar Point Lighthouse. The new light, a square wooden tower with an attached keeper's dwelling, was built on an iron pier at the entrance to Wickford Harbor.

In 1907 the Lighthouse Board received a complaint from a citizen of Wickford about Edward Andrews, the keeper of Wickford Harbor light. The complaint stated that he let people other than Lighthouse Establishment employees stay at the lighthouse. It was against the rules of the Lighthouse Board to let anyone but immediate family or Lighthouse Board employees stay at the lighthouse.

In a letter to the Lighthouse Board Andrews admitted that he let the people named in the complaint stay at the lighthouse. He stated that two of the men had already left and Aaron Sprague, his brother in law was staying at the lighthouse to help him because he was sick. In a separate letter to he asked the Lighthouse Board to let Aaron stay at lighthouse until he recovered.

Andrews was reprimanded by the Lighthouse Board and allowed to stay at the lighthouse. The Lighthouse Board allowed him to hire an assailant during his illness as long as it wasn't one of the men named in the complaint.

In 1930 the lighthouse was discontinued and was replaced with a skeleton tower. Today Wickford Harbor Light 1 stands a pile of stones.

In 1972 Anita W, Hinckley, a Wickford resident, wrote the book Wickford Memories. It was filled with stories about Wickford. One story, The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter, took place at the light. It's a sad little love story.


Sarah Sherman - Wickford Harbor lighthouse keeper Henry Sherman's daughter
Wickford Harbor lighthouse keeper Henry Sherman's daughter
Courtesy of Read Cline


Updated 10/9/2016

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