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Poplar Point Lighthouse

poplar point lighthouse

Wickford, Rhode Island
Built in 1831


Location:

The lighthouse marks the entrance to Wickford Harbor in Narragansett Bay. Private Residence.

Latitude: 41° 34' 16" N
Longitude: 71° 26' 21" W

 

Historic Stories:

Wickford Harbor became popular as a commercial shipping destination for goods from plantations that were flourishing in the area. Local shipyards were quite busy as well. Poplar Point Lighthouse was built in 1831, with the octagonal tower built of wood and attached to the one-story, keeper’s dwelling made of rubble stone. Samuel Thomas Jr. was appointed Poplar Point's first keeper.

During the lighthouse’s tenure, ferry sloops provided the needed public transportation from Wickford to Newport. This continued until 1870, when the Wickford Railroad and Steamboat Company began passenger ferry service to Newport. Wickford was then connected by railroad to New York City. The terminal for the trains was located near the lighthouse, and the beacon was becoming unnecessary for mariners.

In 1882, the decision was made to replace Poplar Point Lighthouse with a new lighthouse on Gay Rock, northeast of the station and about 200 yards offshore. This became what is known as the Wickford Harbor Lighthouse, which was destroyed in the hurricane of 1938.

Poplar Point lighthouse is Rhode Island's only lighthouse which has not needed to be rebuilt and is also still in its original location built in 1831. The lighthouse tower itself still contains the oldest wooden lighthouse in the nation.

Poplar Point light with wooden tower

 

Places to Visit Nearby:

Heading northward along Route 1A, the quiet townships of historic North Kingston, Saunderstown, Davisville, and East Greenwich regions provide opportunities to discover early Colonial period architecture nestled in wooded locations and farmlands where you’ll find an abundance of stonewalls used to mark properties.

Wickford is a small coastal village within North Kingston. Wickford Harbor boats

Wickford Harbor Boats

This little village provides picturesque waterfront streets with quaint specialty shops, cafes, restaurants, and art galleries among quaint churches and colonial homes.

During the summer months you'll find performances where visitors can enjoy relaxing views of the harbor. folk musicians performing near downtown Wickford.

Exhibits by the Wickford Art Organization are also on display.

There are diverse museums nearby like Smith’s Castle, one of Rhode island’s oldest buildings butil in 1678, The Seebee Museum, honoring the naval construction battalion of Seabees, which originated in this area, and who developed the mobile Quonset huts used originally in World War II.

Casey Farm Museum

Casey Farm Museum

To learn about rural farm life, check out the The Casey Farm, which is a Colonial farm nearby.

Explore the Gilbert Stuart Museum a colonial home of the famous American portrait artist with working snuff (tobacco) and grist mills, along with woodland hiking trails for exploring.

This is also the first tobacco mill used in the Colonial American colonies.

water wheel for tobacco mill at Gilbert Stuart Museum

Gilbert Stuart Museum

There is no public access to the lighthouse as it is a discreet private residence and best views are by boat anyways. Distant views can also be seen across the mouth of the harbor from the breakwater at Sauga Point.

 

 

 

Local Boat Tours

Boat cruises mentioned below offer many types of cruises. While some may offer specific lighthouse cruises, some will pass by specific lighthouses as part of charters, narrated wildlife and historic tours, ferrying passengers, fishing tours and other types of excursions. Enjoy!

 

Rhode Island Bay Cruises
Provides a narrated cruise past 10 Rhode Island Lighthouses in Narragansett Bay, and has a complete Newport Harbor Tour.
347 Roger Williams Way
North Kingstown, RI 02852
(401) 295-4040
info@rhodeislandbaycruises.com

 

Save the Bay Tours
Special organization for lighthouse and coastal preservation. In addition to various educational, nature, and historical tours, they provide an Ultimate Lighthouse Tour, and Southern and Northern Bay Lighthouse Tours on specific days during the summer. Tours may include stopovers to tour inside a particular lighthouse.
100 Save the Bay Drive, Providence, RI 02905
(401) 439-0670

 


 

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 with plenty of indoor and outdoor coastal attractions, including museums and parks, and boat tours you can explore.

Look inside!

book about lighthouses and local coastal atttractions in southern New England


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