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Name: Watch Hill Light  

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Nearest Town or City:
Westerly, Rhode Island, United States

Location: Fishers Island Sound east approach

Click to enlarge: Photo   
Photo: Jeremy D'Entremont
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Managing Organization:
Watch Hill Lighthouse Keepers Association

Contact Address Information:
14 Lighthouse Road
Watch Hill
Rhode Island, 02891, United States

A watchtower and a simple beacon were first established at Watch Hill by the Rhode Island colonial government around 1745, giving the area its name.In 1907 one of the most famous of all New England shipping disasters occurred four miles southwest of Watch Hill Light when the steamer Larchmont collided with a schooner in a February blizzard. About 150 people died in this disaster.

Tower Height: 45

Height of Focal Plane: 61

Description of Tower: Square unpainted granite tower with white and red cast iron lantern.

This light is operational

Earlier Towers?
1808: 35-foot wooden tower.

Date Established: 1808

Date Present Tower Built: 1856

Date Automated: 1986

Optics: 1856: Fourth order Fresnel lens. Now VRB-25.

Fog Signal: 1924: second class reed horn; now automated horn with one blast every 30 seconds

Current Use: Active aid to navigation, private residence, museum.

Open To Public? Museum only.

A small museum has been established in the oil house and is open limited hours in the summer. The lighthouse's old Fresnel lens is on display in the museum. Currently open July and August, Tuesdays and Thursdays 1 pm to 3 pm. Admission is free; donations are welcomed.

North or south on RI 1A: Turn south onto Watch Hill Road. Continue south on Everett Avenue. Bear right onto Wauwinnett Road. Bear left onto connectng Bay Street. Turn left at Larkin Road. Just before Bluff Road on the right is Lighthouse Road; a paved lane leads to the lighthouse station. Seniors (64+) and the handicapped are permitted to drive to the parking area near the station. Others must park outside of Lighthouse Road and walk to the lighthouse.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Keepers: Jonathan Nash (1808-1833); Enoch Vose (1833-1841); Gilbert Pendleton (1841-1847); Daniel Babcock (1847-1849); Ethan Pendelton (1849-1853); Nelson Brown (1853-1861); Daniel Larkin (1861-1868); Jared S. Crandall (1868-1879, died in service); Sally Ann Crandall (1879-1888); Fanny K.Sckuyler (1888-1890); Joseph T. Fowler (1890-1895); Julius B. Young (1895-1910); Henry Burkhart (1910-1918); Thomas Murphy (1st asst., 1910-1914); James Gregory (1st asst., 1914-1918, head keeper 1918-1921); Sylvester Kenzia (1st asst., 1919-1923); John F. Anderson (1922-1924); Carl F. Anderson (1st asst., 1925-1931); Lawrence Congdon (March 1, 1924-1941); Frank Laftib (1st assistant 1931-1935); Richard Frick, assistant (1935-1941); William H. Mack (Coast Guard, 1953-1954); Paul Baptiste (Coast Guard, 1955); William I. Clark (c. 1960s); Jerry Pie (Coast Guard, c. 1978); Keith Hamlin (Coast Guard assistant, c. 1978); Rusty Merritt (Coast Guard, c. 1985), Tony Meshot (Coast Guard, c. 1985)

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