Block Island's Southeast & North Lighthouse

north light, lighthouse, lighthouse

Block Island's North Lighthouse was originally built in 1829. It was rebuilt 8 years later further inland to protect it from the ocean and erosion. In 1857 another building went up but was wiped out by shifting sands. The granite building that is there now was completed in 1868.

In 1973 the light was deactivated. It was taken over by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service along with 28 acres around it. Now a wildlife refuge, it is home to many species of birds. Over the years the building was unattended, vandalized and in disrepair. In 1984 the Fish and Wildlife Service sold it to the Town of New Shoreham for $1.

Renovations took place and the light was re-lit in 1989. It is now open to the public as a maritime museum. Plans are underway for major renovations and possibly turning it into a B&B.

For more information contact:

Block Island North Light Association

P. O. Box 1662

Block Island, RI 02807

(401) 466-3200

Block Island's Southeast Light is one of two on the island and is the highest above sea level of any in New England. Built in 1875, it has one of only 12 working first-order Fresnel lenses in the country flashing green every five seconds. The lens was originally used in the Cape Lookout Light in North Carolina.

Valued at $3 million and surrounded with bulletproof glass; this lens is an attraction in itself. Aiding ships navigating the rocky waters on the southeast side of the island, this second historic building has undergone many changes.

In 1993 the structure was moved back from the eroding bluffs about 300 feet. Located some 200 feet above the ocean, this National Historic Landmark is a must on any sightseeing tour. It is also a popular Wedding Ceremony location. The Foundation operates a small museum and a gift shop inside, and tours of the tower are offered For more information or to help with the ongoing restoration of contact:

BI South East Light Foundation

Box 949

Block Island, RI 02807

(401) 466-5009


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Visit more New England lighthouses and see photos by lighthouse photographer Allan Wood.

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