Friday, May 18, 2012
Point Judith Lighthouse is located on the west side of the entrance to Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island as well as the eastern entrance to Block Island Sound (41°21′39.7″N 71°28′53″W). This was once one of America’s most heavily trafficked stretches of water and point of frequent shipwrecks. The first wooden tower built here in 1810 was blown over by a hurricane on September 17, 1815. It was the third lighthouse in Rhode Island. A 35-foot (11 m) stone lighthouse was erected the following year.
The present 51 feet (16 m) octagonal granite tower was built in 1857 and the lighthouse was originally attached to a 2-story keeper’s house by enclosed walkway. The upper half of the tower is painted brown, the lower half white and the lantern and gallery are black to make the light structure a more effective daymark for maritime traffic. The light was electrified in 1939 and the brick keeper's house was torn down in 1954, the same year the lighthouse was automated. The fourth-order Fresnel lens installed here before the Civil War remains in service. Point Judith Lighthouse is located on what is now the Point Judith Coast Guard Station. The grounds are open to the public, although the interior of the lighthouse, oil house, and fog signal building (seen on the postcard) are not.