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The existing Sakonnet Point Lighthouse is the original tower completed in 1884. The cast iron, brick lined superstructure was built on a cast iron caisson filled with cement off shore of Sakonnet Point. As with many other “spark plug” lights built in the early 1880’s, the cast iron plates were pre-fabricated and assembled on site as a kit. The lighthouse was originally equipped with a 4th order Fresnel lens that was rotated by a clockwork system using weights to display a flashing white light. Atlantic coast hurricanes took their toll on the station which was damaged by the “Long Island Express” hurricane of 1938. That same storm washed away the nearly identical Whale Rock Lighthouse in Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay West Passage killing the assistant keeper on duty. Hurricane Carol in 1954 brought about the decommissioning of the station. Faced with a large, emergency repair that was not in the budget, the US Coast Guard opted to discontinue the light in 1955. It was sold into private ownership in 1961 for $1,300.00. In 1985, needing an estimated $75,000.00 restoration, the deed was transferred to a non profit organization, the Friends of Sakonnet Point Lighthouse who raised $100,000.00 and restored the lighthouse.
The restored lighthouse is not open to the public but was re-lit in 1997 and is again an active aid to navigation. The Sakonnet Point Lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It now exhibits a red light from a modern optic that flashes once every six seconds and is visible for 7 nautical miles.
Jan/Feb 2010 Issue, Sakonnet Lighthouse To Be Restored by Timothy Harrison. "Rhode Island's Sakonnet Point Lighthouse will soon undergo a massive restoration project that will start as soon as the warm weather months arrive; it is expected to take two seasons to complete."”Please go to the Lighthouse Digest Magazine Archives to read this article. Lighthouse Digest magazine not only keeps the history of our lighthouses alive both in print and on line, but it is the best single source to keep current on all aspects of lighthouse preservation, news and events.
The Sakonnet Point Lighthouse is best observed by boat but is distantly visible from many points on land. The closest shore view is from Sakonnet Point itself.
Directions: From Tiverton, Rhode Island travel south on State Route RI 77 to the end (near the beach) in Sakonnet. Just before the beach parking lot turn left onto a narrow paved road and continue to the end. There is a wall along the end of the road and the lighthouse can be viewed from the wall .06 miles off shore.