Few symbols better represent the enduring spirit of New England than a lighthouse. After years of tireless restoration efforts, the Pomham Rocks Lighthouse is ready for new generations of Rhode Islanders to experience.
“There’s always been a dream to restore the lighthouse,” says Eileen Moser, member of the completely volunteer-based Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse. “The restoration has been 14 years in the making, so it’s really very exciting that we’re going to open it now.”
First lit in December 1871, the lighthouse was operated by civilian keepers until 1956. Coast Guard officers were stationed there until 1974, at which point the house went dark. The structure gradually deteriorated until a passionate group of citizens pitched the idea of restoration in 2000. Four years later, restoration was underway. “Everything that has happened has really happened because of people and organizations who joined together,” reflects Moser.
Organizers of the restoration efforts went all out to do justice to the lighthouse’s historical legacy. Exterior restorations focused on repairing the roof, siding, and chimney as they would have looked in the 1870s, while interior rooms are being restored to their 1950s design. Perhaps most notably, the lighthouse was re-illuminated in 2006. Plans for the lighthouse’s future include continuing to develop the landmark as a historic site and providing public access.