Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Narragansett Bay Lighthouse Tour Part I

Originally, the main purpose of our trip to RI was to attend my grand daughter's sweet 16 party. I also wanted to visit family. Prior to our arrival, my mother took ill and was moved from the hospital to a nursing home where she could receive intensive physical therapy. Carol and I visited her every day except one. That day was Carol's birthday and we took a Narragansett Bay cruise that would take us by ten lighthouses and a tour of Newport Harbor.

The first lighthouse that we passed by was Poplar Point Lighthouse. Congress approved construction in 1831 for a beacon to serve Wickford Harbor and Poplar Point. This is a fine example of an integral lighthouse where the tower is build within the keepers living quarters. This property is now privately owned and according to a crew member it is for sale with an asking price of 6.7 million.

The second light that we passed was Plum Beach Lighthouse. approved by congress in 1895 as a beacon for the west passage of Narragansett Bay. The lighthouse became obsolete in 1940 when the first Jamestown bridge was built. The light quickly fell into disrepair. Eventually a group was formed to restore the light. Over 50 tons of guano were removed from the structure. This is how it now looks. The new Jamestown bridge is in the background. Some folks refer to this style of lighthouse as a "spark plug" light.

The dutch island light was approved and built in 1825. It also is in the west passage of Narragansett bay. Today it is a private aid to navigation.

Following is whale Rock. In September 1938 a massive hurricane roared up Narragansett Bay. The lighthouse was destroyed and the light keeper perished. This is all that remains of that light.

The first Beavertail Lighthouse was completed in 1749. It was a wooden structure that burned to the ground four years later. The existing tower replaced that one and was lit in 1754. The light faces  straight down the bay to the Atlantic. Over the years it has withstood many storms. The 1938 hurricane claimed the keepers daughter when her school bus was overturned on the causeway. His son survived. That keeper later drowned while in the service during WW II.

Beavertail is my absolute favorite place in Rhode Island. Often during the warm months I would ride my motorcycle there and lay on the rocks in the sun listening to the surf. There was a time when Marie was losing her battle with cancer, that we would drive there so she could listen to the sea crash on the rocks and feel the salt air on her face. I have been there in the bitter cold to see the salt spray frozen on the rocks, so pretty in the sunlight and so deadly. Every so often someone fishing is swept off by an unseen wave and is lost. I have taken Carol there to show her my favorite place and we walked the grounds with our dogs. Yes, this is a special place. Someday my ashes will be somewhere around Beavertail.

Part II and III will soon follow.


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