Newport, Rhode Island

Castle Hill Lighthouse, an iconic beacon gracing the Newport coastline, stands as both a testament to architectural innovation and a guardian of the sea.

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Tom Riley (GoXplr Account)

About This Location

Castle Hill Lighthouse: Guiding the Mariners of Newport

Castle Hill Lighthouse, an iconic maritime beacon gracing the Newport, Rhode Island coastline, stands as both a testament to architectural innovation and a guardian of the sea. Its intriguing history, designed by Henry Hobson Richardson, its picturesque setting, and its role in safeguarding mariners make it a cherished symbol of Newport's maritime heritage.

Architectural Ambitions and Richardson's Touch

Castle Hill Lighthouse's story begins with an artistic vision, as Henry Hobson Richardson drew a sketch for a lighthouse at this very location. The extent to which this sketch influenced the final design remains a mystery. Notably, the actual structure differs from Richardson's concept, as it omits the keeper's residence prominently featured in his sketch. Instead, the keeper's house was constructed a short distance away, preserving some of Richardson's architectural influence.

A Gift to Navigation and a Land of Natural Wonder

Completed in 1890, Castle Hill Lighthouse stands on land that once belonged to Alexander Agassiz, a distinguished naturalist, oceanographer, and zoologist from Harvard University. Remarkably, Agassiz sold this valuable piece of land to the United States Government for a mere $1, a generous gift to maritime safety. His grand mansion, commissioned in 1874 on the same property, has since been transformed into Castle Hill Inn, preserving a slice of history.

The lighthouse itself is a splendid conical tower crafted from granite, soaring 33 feet in height with a focal height of 39 feet. Its original Fifth order Fresnel lens cast a guiding light across the coastal waters. Today, the light at Castle Hill boasts an Isophase Red light that cycles every six seconds, its tower painted white with a black lantern section.

Preservation and Recognition

The significance of Castle Hill Lighthouse extends beyond its maritime role. In 1988, it was honored with a place on the National Register of Historic Places as Castle Hill Lighthouse. This recognition underscores its historical, architectural, and cultural importance in the region, assigned the reference number 88000277 by the National Park Service.

In 2020, locals noticed that the lighthouse needed refurbishment due to rust issues causing unsightly brown streaks on its white tower. The Castle Hill Inn, in March 2021, committed to a five-year agreement with the Coast Guard for the exterior restoration of the lighthouse. At a cost of $17,000, the restoration included a full power wash, repainting, and beautification, ensuring it remained radiant for the 2021 summer wedding season. Visitors of Castle Hill Inn love checking out the lighthouse and weddings are popular near the tower. It was definitely in everyones best interest to have the lighthouse fixed up.

A Treasured Symbol by the Sea

While the lighthouse building itself remains off-limits to the public, the scenic shoreline and cliffs where it stands are accessible via several footpaths originating from the Castle Hill Inn and the Castle Hill Cove Marina. There is even a wonderful stairway which leads visitors down the cliffs to the base of the lighthouse. This picturesque location makes Castle Hill Lighthouse a favorite spot for tourist photos and wedding photography, cementing its status as an enduring symbol of Newport. The property surrounding the lighthouse is owned by the Castle Hill Inn, while the lighthouse structure itself remains under the care of the United States Coast Guard.

Visitors will find ample parking at Castle Hill Cove Marina, which offers several free parking spaces, as well as at Castle Hill Inn for those staying at the inn. Castle Hill Lighthouse continues to serve as both a guardian of the sea and a beloved icon along Newport's stunning coastline.

Location Features

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Ocean Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island

GPS Coordinates:
41.462172, -71.362920
Directions to location:
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Directions to parking area:
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Parking Notes:
Public parking is available at Castle Hill Cove Marina, located before Castle Hill Inn. There are several parking spots and they are free to park at. If you are staying at Castle Hill Inn, there is a big parking lot there too.


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