Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Today is National Lighthouse Day. We mark the establishment of America’s lighthouses through act of Congress in 1789 on this day. The lighthouse above is called the Plum Beach Lighthouse, and represents how both a love of lighthouse history and future preservation can come together.
It stands in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. The Jamestown Verrazano Bridge looms over it, though when the 53-foot lighthouse was constructed in 1899, there was no bridge here, and a need for aid to navigation around Plum Beach Shoal.
The Hurricane of 1938 wreaked havoc on the little light, and trapped the keeper and his assistant, who reportedly tied themselves down to the apparatus that turned the beacon. They made it through the storm, but the Plum Beach Lighthouse was put out commission only a couple years later, not through storm damage, but because of the first Jamestown Bridge that opened in 1940. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1941.
For several decades it sat rusting, in a kind of legal limbo, until the Friends of Plum Beach Lighthouse were formed to restore and preserve it. The incredible task of restoring this lighthouse is detailed in the Friends of Plum Beach Lighthouse website here.
The lighthouse is now restored and the light, now a solar-powered beacon, was re-lit in December 2003.
For more on the history of Plum Beach Lighthouse, have a look here. For more on National Lighthouse Day, have a look at this website.