Lately it seem like we can’t stop saying enough good things about the United States Coast Guard. And it’s true again, this time at Rhode Island’s Point Judith Lighthouse where the Coast Guard is spending about a quarter of a million dollars to restore the historic tower that dates back to 1857. In this case it’s not just the tower being restored, but the lantern room as well.
The four-month project is scheduled to be completed sometime in July. Petty Officer Mitchell Sutherland USCG who is working on the restoration with Campbell Construction Company said, “She’s pretty beat up.” Jokingly he went on to say, “She needs a shave and a haircut.”
As part of the restoration, a crane lifted off the lantern room top and a special team from the Coast Guard’s Aids to Navigation branch oversaw the lens disassembly.
The 3,300-pound lantern room was placed on a flatbed truck and carted off to an ironworks plant in Massachusetts for a complete overhaul.
The current tower is the third actual lighthouse at this site. The first lighthouse, built in 1810 for around $5000, only lasted until 1815 when it was destroyed in a hurricane. A new tower was erected shortly thereafter which stood until the current tower was built in 1857.
Unfortunately, not a whole lot has been written about the keepers and family members who were stationed at this site. In fact we have been trying for years to locate a photograph of any of the keepers stationed here. The lighthouse was automated in 1957.
In 1997 the site was considered as a possible location for the National Lighthouse Museum, but it lost out to the old Lighthouse Depot in Staten Island, New York.
This story appeared in the
June 2000 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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