Rhode Island Picture Post Cards
Light House Point - Watch Hill, Rhode Island - 1900

The Watch Hill Light in Watch Hill, (Westerly Township), Rhode Island still serves as an active aide to navigation although it was automated in 1986. 

In 1745 a watch tower was established on the point giving the area its name. The first light, a round wooden tower with fixed lamps was constructed in 1807. A rotating light was added in 1827.

Construction of the current lighthouse began in 1855. The structure also contained a two story brick light keeper's house. It's fixed white light first shown forth on February 1, 1856.

There is a very dangerous reef to the southwest of this light and there have been numerous wrecks in the area. The most famous of these being the collision of the steamer Metis with an unnamed schooner in 1872. 33 passengers and crew were saved by local residents, but 130 were lost to the sea. It was because of this incident that a Life Saving Station was established  close by the lighthouse.

During the Great New England Hurricane of 1938, the lighthouse suffered severe damage but managed to survive the storm. The keeper stated that waves were breaking completely over the top of the lighthouse.

NOTE: There were 30 lighthouses built to protect Rhode Island waters. Of these 21 are still standing.

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