East Providence, Rhode Island

Pomham Rocks Lighthouse, also known as Pomham Lighthouse, has stood as a historic sentinel on a formidable rock in the Providence River since 1871.

Location Added By:

@1010simone (Instagram)

About This Location

Pomham Rocks Lighthouse: Guiding the Way in Providence River

Pomham Rocks Lighthouse, also known as Pomham Lighthouse, stands as a historic sentinel on a formidable rock in the Providence River, approximately 200 yards off the Riverside neighborhood of East Providence, Rhode Island. This lighthouse holds the distinction of being the northernmost beacon in Narragansett Bay.

A Beacon's Inception

Before the construction of Pomham Rocks Light, these rocky outcrops were only marked by an unlit stone tower, offering little guidance to mariners navigating these waters. It wasn't until 1871 that Congress allocated the funds needed to build this crucial navigational aid, selecting the award-winning design by Vermont architect Albert Dow. This design would also be used for lighthouses at Sabin Point, Rose Island, Esopus Meadows Light, and Colchester Reef.

Lighting the Way

On December 1, 1871, Pomham Rocks Lighthouse began operation. It featured a 45-foot tower with a sixth-order Fresnel lens that cast a fixed white light 69 feet above the water. In 1872, the light's color was changed from white to red, providing a unique identifier for mariners. To further support the lighthouse's operation, Congress allocated $1,200 in 1873 for the construction of a wharf and boathouse on the island.

Changing Hands and Restoration

In 1974, Pomham Rocks Lighthouse was deactivated, and its vintage fourth-order Fresnel lens found a new home at Massachusetts' Custom House Maritime Museum. The lighthouse was sold to a private family in the same year but eventually came into the possession of ExxonMobil in 1980 due to its proximity to the company's fuel terminal.

A pivotal moment for the lighthouse occurred in 2010 when ExxonMobil donated the building and the island to the American Lighthouse Foundation, specifically to the Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse. The interior of the lighthouse had decayed significantly, with structural issues such as a misaligned staircase and tower. However, through dedicated efforts and fundraising, the Friends raised over $1.5 million to breathe new life into this historical structure.

A Symbol of Heritage

In 2021, just in time for Pomham Rocks Lighthouse's 150th anniversary, the original 2.5-foot-tall fourth-order Fresnel lens was lovingly restored and returned to its rightful place, reaffirming the lighthouse's historical significance and role as a maritime icon.

On July 9, 1979, Pomham Rocks Lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places, a significant recognition of its cultural and historical importance. The National Park Service assigned the lighthouse the reference number 79000001.

Accessible and Admirable

While Pomham Rocks Lighthouse remains inaccessible to the general public due to its offshore location, one can enjoy its picturesque views from the East Bay Bike Path. There's also a convenient parking lot for the lighthouse located at the corner of Washington Avenue and Bullocks Point Avenue, providing an opportunity to admire this enduring symbol of maritime history.

Location Features

No items found.


Bullocks Point Avenue, East Providence, Rhode Island

GPS Coordinates:
41.777655, -71.369521
Directions to location:
Click here for location directions
Directions to parking area:
Click here for parking directions
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 at this lot is free.


Have you visited this location before? Let us know what you thought! (Feature coming soon!)