Digest>Archives> June 2006

Plum Beach Light Outlives Its Nemesis

By David Zapatka


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The 240-foot high Jamestown Bridge was demolished ...
Photo by: Cory Zapatka

This past April 18, 2006, the state of Rhode Island demolished the center span of the original Jamestown Bridge, an event that is

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Photo by: David Zapatka

significant to the history of the Plum Beach Lighthouse.

In 1941, the lighthouse was abandoned because it was deemed obsolete after the opening of the bridge in 1940. The lighthouse then sat abandoned for 62 years until its exterior renovation in 2003.

The demolition gives the lighthouse the last laugh, and the owners of the lighthouse, the Friends of Plum Beach Lighthouse, feel proud that our building has outlived its nemesis.

My 16 year-old son Cory, a budding photographer, and I

traveled with the crew from Wickford's Pleasant Street Wharf on their barge in fairly rough seas to a great vantage point just north of the lighthouse and bridge. The majority of people viewing the demolition were positioned south of the bridge in an effort to get a clear view of the action without the new Jamestown-Verrazzano Bridge in the way. The problem with watching from the south was that a strong northerly wind (20-30 mph) obscured the bridge with smoke from the explosives at the moment of detonation. From the north side, we had clear shots of the action.

More importantly, we were able to frame the two structures

in the same shot, forever preserving the lighthouse's longevity over the bridge!

For more on the Friends of Plum Beach Lighthouse, visit www.plumbeachlighthouse.org on the web.

This story appeared in the June 2006 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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