Digest>Archives> Mar/Apr 2021

Pomham Rocks Lighthouse Celebrating Its 150th Jubilee


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Pomham Rocks Lighthouse. (Lighthouse Digest ...

In 2018, Pomham Rocks Lighthouse celebrated completion of a 13-year restoration with a party, aptly dubbed, “Celebration on the Rocks.” This year, the Rhode Island landmark marks its 150th jubilee, and as the Chairperson of the Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse, Dennis Tardiff says, “It’s the icing on the cake.” Built in 1871 and perched on an island off the coast of Riverside, Rhode Island, the Pomham Rocks Lighthouse is the last surviving lighthouse in upper Narragansett Bay. And, ironically, Dennis Tardiff was the last keeper of the light. Assigned to Pomham Rocks Lighthouse as a Coast Guardsman from 1971 until it was decommissioned in 1974, Tardiff has come full circle in his role from lighthouse keeper to Chairman of the Friends of Pomham Rocks Light and, also, as the captain of the group’s new launch. But, the focus of Dennis Tardiff’s efforts has always been maintaining the light station as an integral part of Rhode Island’s maritime history.

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Aerial view of Rhode Island’s Pomham Rocks ...
Photo by: Ron Foster

Tardiff welcomes all lighthouse lovers to join the Friends in the year-long celebration. Kicking off the Jubilee Celebration in March is a photography and art contest depicting the island lighthouse. All submissions will be considered for publication in a 2022 wall calendar and for use on merchandise sold in their gift shop.

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The restored kitchen at Rhode Island’s Pomham ...

The Friends will also sponsor a benefit run on April 24, 2021 with a 5K lighthouse run winding through scenic neighborhoods and a 10K lighthouse run passing by the lighthouse. If COVID restrictions prevent the in-person event, or if you can’t take part in person on April 24, but still want to support their efforts, you can run or walk at your choice of time and place, by registering for their virtual run.

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The stairway at Pomham Rocks Lighthouse in 2004 ...
Photo by: Timothy Harrison

A series of commemorative events are being planned for this year to honor the many dedicated lighthouse keepers who kept the light. The first graveside ceremony for the placement of a lighthouse keeper memorial marker will take place in June to honor Pomham Rocks’ first lighthouse keeper, C.H. Salisbury, who, along with his wife, Mary, served from 1871 to 1893.

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The restored stairway at Rhode Island’s Pomham ...

Pomham Rocks Lighthouse Day will be the highlight of the year for the community. If COVID guidelines allow, the public is invited to join in festivities on August 8th from noon to 3 p.m. at the Squantum Association in Riverside, Rhode Island. Displays and video presentations will inform the public about the history of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse. A birthday cake will be served and free boat rides and tours of the lighthouse will be available. Food, music, raffles, and games on the lighthouse lawn will also be featured.

Throughout the summer season, boat rides and tours of the lighthouse museum will be offered, if they are allowed by pandemic guidelines. Plans are also underway to commemorate the initial lighting of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse on December 1, 1871. To find out more about events planned for the Pomham Rocks Lighthouse Jubilee or to register for the Lighthouse Run, visit www.pomhamrockslighthouse.org or on their Facebook page.

This story appeared in the Mar/Apr 2021 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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