Pomham Rocks Lighthouse

Riverside, RI


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4:00pm – 11:00pm

November 12, 2023


December 31, 2023

What’s going on at the lighthouse?

As our tour season concluded for 2023, our volunteers have been hard at work behind the season preparing the grounds for the 2024 season. The chain link fence on the south retaining wall of the island was installed in 1939. In 2023, 84 years later, it was still there and in poor condition. The island originally had a wooden rail style fence from 1871 until c. 1900. In c.1900, the fence was converted to a white flat top picket design. In keeping with our mission of restoring and painting the lighthouse and grounds to the highest degree of historical accuracy, The Friends have taken on the massive task of returning the fence on the island to its turn of the century appearance. Fall 2023 is seeing Phase 1 of this project, Phase 2 will replace the west facing fence on the island (front of the lighthouse) and is slated for Spring 2024. Phase 1 has been completed and includes the following:
Removing all chainlink fencing and posts along the south retaining wall.
Install cedar posts, rails and pickets along the wall.
Prime and double coat all portions of the fence in weather grade paint.
Repaint concrete retaining wall.
While this may seem easier said than done, this project was completed by our dedicated volunteers who have put in countless hours on the island and on shore to bring the original fence back to life at Pomham Rocks Lighthouse. Thank you to our members who are volunteered their time to make Phase 1 of this project a reality: Rick Lux, Dennis Tardiff, Jay Dent, Charlie Gruetzner, Alex Dias, Adam Dias, Judianne Point, Gary Point and Stephanie Lux.


Dennis Tardiff (left) accepts a check from Paul Williams (right) for a $4,000 grant from the Squantum Association Charitable Trust.

If you have glanced over at the Lighthouse on your stroll or ride along the East Bay Bike Path recently, you may have noticed something new happening. A freshly painted white picket fence has been winding its way around the south side of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse in Riverside this fall. Its appearance of classic simplicity contrasts dramatically with the actual time and effort needed for the project.  Construction of an historically accurate wooden fence on a concrete retaining wall, on an island, is no small feat. Nor is it inexpensive.

Thanks to a recent $4,000 grant from the Squantum Association Charitable Foundation, Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse will be able to continue to work on the fencing next year. “We sincerely thank the Squantum Association Charitable Foundation for their continued support of our efforts to preserve and restore East Providence’s historical light station,” noted Friends’ Chair of the Board of Directors Dennis Tardiff. “This grant will allow us to move forward with this important project.”

Built in 1871, Pomham Rocks Lighthouse originally had a white wooden rail-style fence around the perimeter of the island. That was converted to a white flat-top picket design around 1900, as evidenced by photos and postcards of the era. The picket fence was replaced with a metal chain-link fence in 1939. After 84 years of service, New England weather has taken its toll on the iron supporting posts, resulting in rusting and corrosion.

True to their mission of restoring the local Lighthouse and grounds to the highest degree of historical accuracy, members of Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse embarked on a multi-year major project to replace the chain-link fence with an historically. accurate wooden picket fence, bringing it back to its original appearance at the start of the twentieth century.

Initial plans involved removal of the existing chain link fence and installation of wooden posts to anchor the rails and pickets. Phase one, initiated in September, encompassed installation of the wooden fence on the south side of the island, along the perimeter concrete wall.  “I am very happy with the way it turned out. It is sturdy, historically accurate, and looks great,” stated Rick Lux, Friends Board Member and coordinator of the fence project. “It was a complicated project and we very lucky to have help from member Jay Dent, who is a skilled carpenter,” he added.

Phase One included removing all chain-link fencing and posts along the south retaining wall and installation of cedar posts and 137 feet of rails and pickets along the wall. Volunteers applied prime and double coats of severe weather grade paint to all sections of the fence and repainted the concrete retaining wall.

Phase Two will replace the fence on the west side of the Lighthouse, the front of the building, facing the Providence River. With funding now in place from the Squantum Association Charitable Foundation, work is scheduled to begin in spring 2024.

Pomham Rocks Lighthouse c.1900