For the second time in its history, the 1870 Rose Island Lighthouse in Newport, Rhode Island has a new 6th order Fresnel lens.
In 1969 when Newport Bridge, now the Claiborne Pell Bridge, was opened, the Rose Island Lighthouse became obsolete and the Fresnel lens was removed from the lighthouse when it was officially deactivated in 1971. Unfortunately, no one seems to know what happened to the original lens, or if it still exists.
Throughout its lifetime the Rose Island Lighthouse nearly met its demise on more than one occasion. The first time was on August 7, 1958 when two tankers collided in the fog near the lighthouse and burst into flames. One of the burning ships, with its engines dead, floated to within yards of the lighthouse. Another time a developer wanted to build condos on the island. However, the abandoned lighthouse, left to the elements and vandalism, had a champion who came to its rescue when Charlotte Johnson, in1992, founded the Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation to save the lighthouse and open it to the public. People can now stay at the lighthouse while performing duties very similar to what the lighthouse keepers of yesteryear did. To learn more, you can visit their web site at www.RoseIslandLighthouseFoundation.org.
Coincidently, while Artworks-Florida was installing the new lens, Abcore Restoration Company was also at the lighthouse making improvements to the lantern cupola and installing new windows in the lantern room.
The new Fresnel lens, which is a sixth order fixed light with a flashing characteristic, was manufactured by Dan Spinella of Artworks-Florida. The flasher is a Coast Guard approved unit manufactured by Tideland Signal Corp and the pedestal and reproduction brass lamp housing was manufactured by Kurt Fosburg of Superior Lighthouse Restoration. The new light is designated as a Private Aid to Navigation with a flash every six seconds.
This story appeared in the
Nov/Dec 2013 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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