Pomham Rocks Lighthouse

Riverside, RI


The 2023 Tour Season has ended. Check back in Spring 2024 for the 2024 Tour Season dates.

See you in 2024!


Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse have continued efforts to restore the century-and-a-half-year-old light station with historical accuracy. In 2021, Friends repaired the piping system on the south side of the building and resealed the lighthouse’s cistern. This brick-walled underground water reservoir is located in the building’s cellar. With a generous grant from the Squantum Association Charitable Foundation, volunteers have succeeded this summer in replacing piping and connecting the north system to the cistern. This project completely restores to full operation an historical water storage system that was used since the lighthouse was built in 1871. “We appreciate the support of the Squantum Association Charitable Foundation in enabling us to bring history to life,” stated Dennis Tardiff, chair of the Friends’ Board of Directors. “The cistern will be an important feature of our lighthouse tours this summer,” he added.

Pomham Rocks Lighthouse has relied on rainwater collected from its red tile roof to furnish water for cooking, bathing and drinking. A large gutter surrounding the roof and two downspouts direct the rainwater collected by the roof into pipes which lead down the sides of the two-story building to the storage cistern in the lighthouse cellar. Originally, the system was connected to a hand pump in the kitchen, which allowed the keeper to pump water out of the cistern as needed. The system now feeds the faucets on the first and second floors of the lighthouse and a flushing toilet. A divertor valve on the exterior piping allows the water flowing from the roof to be monitored. When the water runs clear and it is needed, the divertor valve can be closed manually, allowing the clear water to flow into the cistern for future use. When the cistern is full, the diverter can be opened to allow the water to flow off the island.

You can see this water storage system on a lighthouse tour. Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse offers scheduled tours to the island light station during the summer. 


Ever walk or bike past Pomham Rocks Lighthouse on the East Bay Bike Path? Take your kayak or boat on the Riverside coast of the Providence River? Next time, take a selfie with The Lighthouse in the background. Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse invite you to show you LOVE THE ROCK this summer, by day or night, from land or sea, on a solitary run or on a group tour. Amateurs, professionals, young and old, local residents and those from afar are welcome to participate in this fun contest. Visitors are only allowed on the island on scheduled tours and personal watercraft are prohibited from accessing the lighthouse. But no need to worry, we just want you to put the historic light station in perspective.

Share your photos with friends on your social media and let them know you are in East Providence and that you LOVE THE ROCK. And then send your selfies to Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse at pomhamrockslighthouse@yahoo.com. We will post a variety of photos on our social media sites as well. If your selfie is selected as a Friends’ favorite, you will receive Pomham Rocks’ merchandise. Prizes include hats and t-shirts, embroidered with a design of The Lighthouse and mugs, featuring a sketch of the local landmark. The contest runs until August 31.

Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse Awarded

$10,000 Grant from The 1772 Foundation/Preserve RI

Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse was one of 16 non-profit organizations recently awarded a matching grant for historic preservation from The 1772 Foundation in cooperation with Preserve Rhode Island. A total of $125,000 in grants, ranging from $3,000 to $10,000 were awarded. The $10,000 grant for Pomham Rocks will assist the volunteer group in installing historically accurate operable shutters on the 1871 light station.

“We are so grateful to be selected to receive this prestigious award,” noted President of Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse Dennis Tardiff. “It will allow us to safeguard this important landmark, so it will be a lasting symbol of the crucial role our community played in maritime safety. This grant,” he added, “will also enable us ensure the completion of efforts to accurately replicate the exterior of the building.”

The shutter project will help preserve and protect Pomham Rocks Lighthouse, while restoring the exterior appearance to its original façade. The project includes the design, fabrication and installation of 19 sets of exterior window shutters on the century-and-a-half-year-old lighthouse. Located on a half-acre island off the coast of Riverside, RI, the lighthouse is vulnerable to the harmful effects of New England weather. Wooden shutters, which can be latched closed, will provide an additional barrier to extreme weather conditions, such as heavy rainfall and winds related to climate change. Once secured, the fully-operational shutters will help to protect the restored interior of the building and the artifacts in the museum, including Pomham’s antique Fresnel lens. The shutters will also restore the exterior of the building to its former historically accurate appearance in its early years. Installation of the shutters will take place in the fall.

Pomham Rocks Lighthouse c.1900