Beavertail Lighthouse

By December 17, 2019Inside Rhody, RetroBlast

Beavertail Road, Jamestown, Rhode Island

Beavertail Lighthouse is one of the most visited landmarks in Rhode Island, for both its history and its incredible panoramic views of Narragansett Bay. It is located on the southernmost tip of Jamestown, Rhode Island and is the site of the third-oldest lighthouse in the United States.

The original Beavertail Lighthouse was built back in 1749 with a purpose for settlers to have a light that could help guide ships from the open ocean into either Newport Harbor or Narragansett Bay. The wooden structure caught on fire 4 years later and burned to the ground.

British sailors retreating from Newport towards the end of the American Revolutionary War left a trail of destruction behind them in 1779. This included burning the lighthouse and removing the optics, which left darkness for the rest of the war.

In 1856, the tower was replaced with what is now the current tower, made of granite which is 10 ft square, and 64 feet from the ground to a beacon. A 3rd order Fresnel lens was placed and over the next forty years, it was the site of numerous fog-signal tests, under the supervision of the United States Lighthouse board. In 1898, living space was added to the lighthouse for an assistant keeper; who helped with fog-signaling.

Years later, the whistle house was destroyed during the 1938 hurricane. The US Coast Gaurd then took control of all lighthouses and navigational aids. The building was restored and opened to the public in 1989, following a joint effort by the US Coast Guard, Rhode Island Parks Management, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, and the town of Jamestown. in 1993, Beavertail Museum was established and is now open to the public.

The Beavertail Lighthouse Museum stands as the main tourist attraction within the Park with an impressive collection of information and artifacts about the history and site of the third-oldest lighthouse in North America through exhibits, a small theater and interactive displays (there’s a gift shop, too!). You can also take in the incredible views and walk through the beautiful trails throughout the entire year.

There will be a special holiday event taking place at the museum on Sunday, December 8th from 1-4 PM!

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