Pomham Rocks Light (also known as the “Pomham Lighthouse”) is a historic lighthouse on a large rock in the Providence River. It is located approximately 200 yards off the shoreline of the Riverside neighborhood of East Providence, Rhode Island. It is the farthest north lighthouse in Narragansett Bay.
Prior to the construction of Pomham Rocks Light, the Pomham Rocks were marked by an unlit stone tower. The lighthouse was built with financing given by Congress in 1871. The government decided to build the lighthouse based on the plans of Vermont architect Albert Dow’s award-winning design. Sabin Point, Rose Island, Esopus Meadows Light, and Colchester Reef all have nearly identical lighthouses.
On December 1, 1871, the 45-foot Pomham Rocks Lighthouse went into operation. It featured a sixth-order Fresnel lens displaying a fixed white light at a height of 69 feet above the water. On October 1, 1872, the light’s color was switched from fixed white to fixed red. In 1873, Congress appropriated $1,200 so that a wharf and boathouse could be added to the station.
The lighthouse was taken out of service in 1974, and its vintage fourth-order fresnel lens was donated to Massachusetts’ Custom House Maritime Museum. In 1974, the lighthouse went up for auction and was sold to a private family. ExxonMobil purchased it in 1980 because the company operates a nearby fuel terminal. The building and island were donated in 2010 to the American Lighthouse Foundation, the parent organization of the Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse.
When the group received the lighthouse from ExxonMobil in 2010, the interior was totally decayed and the tower was 7 degrees off-center. The stairs were misaligned, and the tower swayed in the breeze. The Friends raised more than $1.5 million to restore the structure. Among other things, the group installed a new floor, repaired electricity to the island, and purchased a dedicated boat. The original 2.5-foot-tall fourth-order fresnel lens was revived and brought back to the lighthouse in 2021, just in time for the lighthouse’s 150th anniversary. One of the best viewpoints of the lighthouse is from the East Bay Bike Path. There is a parking lot for Pomham Rocks Lighthouse located at the corner of Washington Ave and Bullocks Point Ave.
Do you love lighthouses? Be sure to check out the 18 Best Rhode Island Lighthouses To Visit And Photograph. Also, you can find more great spots to explore in Rhode Island by visiting goxplr.com/map/rhode-island!
- Constructed: 1871
- First lit: 1871
- Construction: Wood tower with stone foundation
- Tower shape: Octagonal on square house
- Height: 39 feet (12 m)
- Focal height: 67 feet (20 m)
- Markings: White with black lantern and red roof on house
- Characteristic: Fixed Red
- Range: 6 nautical miles (11 km; 6.9 mi)
- Status: Active
- NRHP number: 79000001
- Address: Pomham Rocks Light
- Town: Riverside
- State: Rhode Island
- GPS: Lat 41.77778 Lng -71.36932
- Parking notes: One of the best viewpoints of the lighthouse is from the East Bay Bike Path. There is a parking lot for Pomham Rocks Lighthouse located at the corner of Washington Ave and Bullocks Point Ave.
- Parking directions: HERE
- Location directions: HERE