The Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse

The Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse is a 501(c)3 non-profit that was  established in 2004 to restore and maintain the 1871 historic landmark. The Friend’s mission is to ensure the historic restoration and preservation of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse and to improve public awareness, appriciation and access to the lighthouse.

Upcoming Events: 

Pomham Rocks Lighthouse’s 

4th order Fresnel lens to return home 

We hope the lighthouse community joins in our excitement as we announce that our original 4th order Fresnel lens will be returned back to the Pomham Rocks Lighthouse. This lens was installed at the Pomham Rocks Lighthouse in c.1926 to replace the original 6th installed back in 1871. Our 4th order lens was removed from the tower in 1974 when the lighthouse was decommissioned. It eventually made its way up to the Custom House Maritime Museum in Newburyport, MA. Since the 1970s, our lens has been prominently on display and well cared for in Newburyport. However, the time has come for this historic artifact to find its way back to its original home: The Pomham Rocks Lighthouse in Riverside, RI. When it arrives back at Pomham Rocks, it will be displayed proudly in the Lighthouse’s museum. Stay tuned as our lens begins its journey back home!

Pomham Rocks Lighthouse Celebrates 

150th Jubilee on the Rocks

How do you celebrate a 150th birthday? With special events all year long, and of course, plenty of cake. Pomham Rocks Lighthouse, in Riverside, marks its 150th jubilee in 2021. Rhode Islanders of all ages and lighthouse lovers from far and near are invited to join in the celebration. Built in 1871 and perched on an island off the coast of East Providence, RI, Pomham Rocks Lighthouse is the last surviving lighthouse in upper Narragansett Bay.

A series of commemorative events will honor the many dedicated lighthouse keepers who kept the light burning to ensure the safety of passing vessels. The first graveside ceremony and dedication honors Pomham’s first lighthouse keeper, C.H. Salisbury and his wife, Mary, who served from 1871 to 1893. Representatives from the Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse, the U.S. Coast Guard, the town of Warren and city of East Providence will take part in the program at Warren’s South Burial Ground in June.

Plans are also underway to commemorate the initial lighting of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse on December 1, 1871. To find out more about events planned for the jubilee year or to register for the Lighthouse Run, visit

The Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse is a 501(c)(3) non-profit volunteer chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation. All proceeds support efforts to maintain this important New England maritime light station and museum that is an integral part of Rhode Island’s heritage and that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Pomham Rocks Lighthouse: Guiding More than Ships

     Pomham Rocks Lighthouse sits high on an island across the bay from Rhode Island Hospital. But that’s not the only connection they have. As The Lighthouse celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, a bit of its history has come to light. A 1959 graduate of Rhode Island Hospital School of Nursing, Joan O’Sullivan, of Warwick, shared information from hospital and nursing school publications explaining the lighthouse-hospital link.

     It started in 1892 when Charlotte Peters, wife of the Rhode Island Hospital Superintendent, Dr. John M. Peters, designed a pin, which was later presented to each graduate of the Hospital’s nursing school until they closed in 1973. Mrs. Peters was an invalid who spent much time on a couch in their apartment above the entrance to the hospital, facing Pomham Rocks. From her window, she watched the ships as they sailed on Narragansett Bay.

     An article published in the July 1974 Rhode Island Hospital newsletter, entitled Another Era Ends: Pomham Lighthouse is Automated, the editor sadly relates that the “lighthouse mounted on a rocky projection in the middle of the Providence River, was decommissioned this past June 1, in traditional Coast Guard ceremonies…Since 1892, the lighthouse has appeared on the nurses’ school pins and has symbolized a guiding light for the sick in their search for the care provided by this Hospital.”

     In December 1892, Mrs. Peters had a pin made from a $20 gold piece and presented it on Christmas Day to her private duty nurse, Eugenia D. Ayers, a graduate of the class of 1888. In the center of the pin is the State seal in blue with a gold anchor. To the left, atop white waves is a sailboat. To the right, Pomham Rocks Lighthouse, described in the nursing school’s publication, The Story of the Nursing Badge, as “a beacon to guide in darkness, a tower of strength by day, directs the ailing traveler to the sturdy ship from which he can regain his own strength.”

     The first pin, now in the nurses’ alumni’s historical collection, bears the number one on the back. Each pin that followed is numbered sequentially. The photograph featured here shows pin No. 3,053, and belongs to Joan Knox O’Sullivan.


Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse
P.O. Box 15121 Riverside, RI 02915
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© Pomham Rocks Lighthouse 2020