Warwick, Rhode Island: Built in 1826
Southern tip of Warwick Neck, Narragansett Bay.
Coast Guard private residence.
1350 Warwick Neck Ave, Warwick, RI 02889
|Latitude: 41° 40' 00" N
||Longitude: 71° 22' 42" W|
Warwick was the site of the first shot fired of the American Revolution against the British schooner Gaspee. During colonial times, some type of private beacon was used between Warwick and Prudence Island to guide ships around the neck.
Vintage image courtesy of
US Coast Guard
|As this area became a busy waterway in the 1800's, many ships had to contend with a narrow channel of water around Warwick Neck and nearby Patience Island, creating the need for the lighthouse to be built in 1826. The first Keeper was Elisha Case, who continued to complain about the cramped space for his family and the consistent dampness of the quarters.|
Daniel Waite replaced Case in 1831, but Case did not leave the residence until he was granted the right to harvest crops he had planted previously at the lighthouse. Case also wanted money for a small barn he had built to raise animals, but that request was denied. It is also believed that even during colonial times, some type of beacon was used in the same area to guide ships between Warwick and Prudence Island.
During the Prohibition era, lighthouse keepers were instructed to also keep an eye out for bootleggers. The notorious Redich gang was caught at their hideout, which happened to be near the lighthouse property. Officials discovered that their hideout had a hidden passage that went along the shoreline for illegal boats that were used to enter the property.
With the lighthouse getting closer to the constantly eroding cliffs, in 1932, a new cast iron lighthouse was built roughly 50 feet from the old light. This location lasted until the hurricane of 1938 destroyed all the surrounding land, leaving the lighthouse a few inches from the water. It was again moved to its current location in 1939, about 50 feet inland.
Places to Visit Nearby:
Warwick, Rhode Island's second largest city, provides much history in exploring its architecture and culture along with plenty of recreational activities in its parks to enjoy along its 39 miles of coastline with great views. You'll also find a host of marinas for boaters.
As part of Rhode Island's Greenways system of hiking and biking trails, the Coventry Greenway is a 5-mile unpaved hiking trail along a former railway line that extends from Warwick, to Greenwich, to the town of Coventry. The Warwick and East Greenwich Bicycle network covers 40 miles of mostly paved routes. Buttonwoods Beach is open to the public and includes bicycle paths that extend around 3 miles looping the perimeter of City Park along with various nature trails
|Goddard State Park is Rhode Island's most popular metropolitan park with trees from all over the world, a nine-hole golf course, 18 miles of horse and hiking trails, and a performing arts center at a giant carousel. The Warwick Heritage Trail system is where you'll find plenty of examples of 17th, 18th, and 19th century architecture as well as one of the largest concentrations of retail stores for all you shopaholics.||
Goddard Memorial Park
As you wind down through Warwick Neck Avenue towards the lighthouse, you'll find some very nice residences, including the Aldrich Mansion, a seventy room French chateau, which you may be able to visit.
For more artistic tastes, the Complements Art Gallery is one of the largest art galleries in New England, exhibiting works from artists all over the world, or visit the Historical Warwick Museum of Art that provides entertainment and activities from comedy, music, poetry, and theater to arts exhibitions.
Best views of the lighthouse are from the water. To get a partial view the lighthouse from the street:
- Take Route 117 East into Warwick,
- Then turn south on Warwick Neck Avenue designated by a rather large sign, and follow it for about 2 ½ miles to the end, where you can see the light.
Local Boat Tours
Save the Bay Tours
Special organization for lighthouse and coastal preservation provides Ultimate Lighthouse Tour and Northern Bay Lighthouse Tour on specific days during the summer. Tours may include stopovers to tour inside a particular lighthouse.
100 Save the Bay Drive, Providence, RI 02905
My 300-page book, Lighthouses and Coastal Attractions of Southern New England: Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, provides special human interest stories from each of the 92 lighthouses along New England's most populated coastline. There are plenty of indoor and outdoor coastal attractions you can explore, and lots of tours.