Pomham Rocks Lighthouse

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"Guiding the Way Along the Bay Since 1871” 

Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse

      The Providence River was once home to five lighthouses, Sassafrass Point Lighthouse, Fuller Rock Lighthouse, Pomham Rocks Lighthouse, Sabin Point Lighthouse, and Bullocks Point Lighthouse, today only Pomham remains.   

We regret to announce, out of the safety of our volunteers and future visitors, that all tours of the Pomham Rocks Lighthouse have been cancelled for 2020 due to COVID-19.

Former Chairman and Boat Captain Joe Estrella passes

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       It is with great sadness that Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse announces the recent passing of Joseph Estrella on May 9, 2020. As a former Chairman, Board Member and Launch Captain, Joe brought much needed expertise to the success story of the Lighthouse restoration.

    His many years in the construction trade were instrumental and invaluable in directing the restoration of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse. Additionally, Joe’s yachting experience and his Merchant Marine Captain’s license enabled FPRL to make hundreds of trips ferrying supplies, restoration materials and passengers to the island during the time-consuming and incredible transformation of the Lighthouse. Without Joe’s can-do attitude and guidance, the restoration would not have come to fruition as beautifully and efficiently as it did. Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse will always be indebted to Joe Estrella and his family for their unwavering support and contributions.


“Fair winds and following seas,” Joe, you will be greatly missed.


Dennis Tardiff

Chairman, FPRL

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 Pomham Rocks Lighthouse sits on a small island just off the coast of East Providence Rhode Island. It began service December 1, 1871 with a sixth order Fresnel lens showing a fixed white light. A mere ten months later on October 1, 1872 this characteristic was changed to fixed red. A fog siren, installed in 1900, was referred to by a local newspaper as "the greatest nuisance in the state" before it was replaced by a fog bell three years later.  The light remained operational until it was decommissioned in 1974 when the US Coast Guard replaced it with one on a newly erected skeleton tower. 

      Pomham Rocks was a good assignment and had just five light keepers prior to its shift from the US Lighthouse Service to the Coast Guard.  Coast Guard crewman then handled the duties of keeper until the light was decommissioned.  

     In 1980 the property was declared surplus and auctioned off to its nearby neighbor, the Exxon Corporation, which has a terminal just north of the island. It remained dark and vacant from 1986 until 2006 when, thanks to a group of dedicated, local volunteers called Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse, the site was recommissioned with a beacon returned to the lighthouse and the skeleton tower removed.  A partnership between the Friends of Pomham Rocks Light, its parent organization, American Lighthouse Foundation, and the now named ExxonMobil resulted in a historically accurate restoration of the exterior. In 2010 ExxonMobil donated the lighthouse and island to the American Lighthouse Foundation.

    After years of fundraising, this dream has become a reality. On June 10, 2018 an official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony was held at the lighthouse to mark the completion on the our restoration efforts. Learn more about the history of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse under the history tab.

© Pomham Rocks Lighthouse 2020