Watch Hill Lighthouse, Westerly

#4 of 20 in Things to do in Westerly
Lighthouse · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
The Watch Hill Lighthouse in Watch Hill, Rhode Island has served as a nautical beacon for ships since 1745, when the Rhode Island colonial government erected a watchtower and beacon during the French and Indian War and Revolutionary War. The original structure was destroyed in a 1781 storm, and plans were discussed to build a new lighthouse to mark the eastern entrance to Fishers Island Sound and to warn mariners of a dangerous reef southwest of Watch Hill.President Thomas Jefferson signed an act to build the lighthouse in 1806, and construction was completed in 1807. The first lighthouse stood tall.In 1827, a rotating light was installed to differentiate it from the Stonington Harbor Light in Connecticut. Erosion forced the lighthouse to close in 1855 and move farther away from the bluff edge. The next lighthouse opened in 1856 and remains as the present structure. It stands tall.The steamer Metis crashed off Watch Hill in 1872, killing 130 people. In 1873, lighthouse keeper Captain Jared Starr Crandall was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for rescue operations involving the Metis. In 1879, Capt. Crandall's widow Sally Ann (Gavitt) Crandall became the first woman lighthouse keeper there. A United States Life-Saving Service station was built next to it where it operated until the 1940s, but it was destroyed in 1963.
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Watch Hill Lighthouse reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
169 reviews
  • This was a nice walk in a very nice area of Watch Hill. Beautiful houses and views and very clean. The museum hours are unfortunate - Tues, Wed & Thur 1-3 only - which is the reason for 4 stars. You.....  more »
  • It's a nice walk down a private road to the lighthouse (handicap people can drive down). You get to see some beautiful homes and experience the wind and waves of the ocean. It's definitely not the.....  more »
  • An interesting walk through the land of the one percenters, on a private road, will take you upon a semi isthmus to the point. Dogs are allowed on leash. The lighthouse grounds are restricted and no entry. Good views of the ocean and beaches. Perimeter consists of large boulders. Large grass lawns are present, but activities are restricted. Fishing is allowed.
  • I wish the entrance to the lighthouse, itself, was permitted but I believe it's privately owned so it's understandable. Regardless, the area surrounding is absolutely stunning, including the views of the water against the rocks, the beach and all the architecturally and aesthetically captivating houses.

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