From colonial days till the present, aids to navigation – lighthouse, foghorns, buoys, lightships – have warned mariners of the risks ahead as they entered Narragansett Bay.  Jamestown itself was home to four lighthouses, two on Conanicut Island, one on Gould Island in the East Passage, and one on Dutch Island in the West Passage.  

Two lights, Whale Rock Light between Beavertail and Narragansett and Plum Point Light off Saunderstown, marked hazards in the West Passage, while Rose Island Light marked dangers to the east.    

The new exhibit in the Jamestown Historical Society case in the Jamestown Philomenian Library contains souvenirs and postcards of the seven lighthouses. The JHS collection has over 50 postcards of the Beavertail Light originally built in 1749 and is the third lighthouse established in thirteen colonies.  In 1856, an earlier tower was replaced with the current tower. For a complete history of the Beavertail Light, see Beavertail Light Station on Conanicut Island by Varoujan Karentz.

North: Postcard of Jamestown’s Conanicut Light. The building is now a private residence

Postcard Gould Island Light. The light on the east side of Gould Island was originally built by the Fall River Steamship Line in 1887. The 30-foot brick lighthouse was finished in 1889, with a keeper’s house located about 30 feet away.  The 1889 lighthouse was razed in 1960.

Copy of a painting of the Plum Point Light by John Cook who was the Lighthouse Keeper at Dutch Island Light from 1915 to 1927.