Gull Rocks Light

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Gull Rocks Light
Gull rocks light RI.JPG
Gull Rocks Light showing skeleton tower (USCG)
Gull Rocks Light is located in Rhode Island
Gull Rocks Light
Location Narragansett Bay near Newport, Rhode Island
Coordinates 41°30′8.5″N 71°19′59″W / 41.502361°N 71.33306°W / 41.502361; -71.33306Coordinates: 41°30′8.5″N 71°19′59″W / 41.502361°N 71.33306°W / 41.502361; -71.33306
Year first lit 1887
Automated 1960
Deactivated 1969
Construction Wood frame
Tower shape A-frame house with skeleton tower added in 1928
Height 33 feet (10 m)
Original lens two lens lanterns

Not to be confused with the Gull Rock Light in Lake Superior.

The Gull Rocks Light was a lighthouse at the entrance to Newport harbor northwest of Rose Island. A unique A-frame structure, it was supplemented with a skeleton tower in 1928.

History[edit]

The Gull Rocks obstruct the passage north of Rose Island, and in the mid-19th century the Old Colony Steamboat Company took steps to mark the reef. Initially an employee of the company was stationed on the rocks with a horn; later, a lamp on a post was erected.

In 1885 the Lighthouse Service made its first request to replace this lamp with a federal lighthouse, but the replacement was not constructed until 1887. The wooden A-frame house was unlike anything else in the area, and it had neither tower nor lantern room. Instead, a lamp was hung in either gable: red on one end, and white on the other. The unique roof caused some problems with the usual practice of collecting rainwater in cisterns, as it was prone to contamination from salt spray. The first keeper, Frederick Purinton, was badly injured in 1894 by an assailant believed to be a local lobsterman, and quit the post two weeks later.

In 1900 the original lamps were replaced by brighter lanterns, but the same arrangement of hanging them obtained. Then in 1928 a small skeleton tower was erected next to the house, sporting an acetylene lamp. The station survived the devastating hurricane of 1938 and was manned until 1960, when the light was automated and the house demolished. In 1969 construction of the Newport Bridge, which passes immediately adjacent to the rocks, rendered the light useless, and the tower was likewise removed, leaving the tiny oil house as the sole remaining trace of the station.

References[edit]