Last July 24, 2004, at least 250 people had the rare opportunity to climb one of Rhode Island's most historic lighthouses. An open house was held thanks to the joint efforts of the Beavertail Lighthouse Museum Association and the U.S. Coast Guard. Chief Mark Taylor of the Coast Guard's Aids to Navigation Team in Bristol, Rhode Island was on hand along with volunteers from the Beavertail Lighthouse Museum. Among the visitors were the participants in a Rhode Island lighthouse tour run by the Friends of Flying Santa.
Chief Taylor stayed an extra hour and a half, until all the enthusiastic visitors had the chance to climb to the top of the lighthouse. In the past, the 1856 tower was seldom opened to the public but another open house was held last September 18 and more are planned for the future.
The original 1749 lighthouse at Beavertail on the southern end of Conanicut Island at the entrance to the Narragansett Bay, was the third lighthouse built in the American colonies. The foundation of the original lighthouse was uncovered during a severe hurricane in 1938 and can be seen near the present tower. Beavertail was also the scene of many important experiments with fog signals over the years.
The assistant keeper's house, built in 1898, has been converted into the Beavertail Lighthouse Museum, where tourists can view a fourth order Fresnel lens along with some wonderful exhibits on Rhode Island's lighthouses and keepers. Visitors can also buy lighthouse items at the museum gift shop.
This story appeared in the
October 2004 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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