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Conimicut Shoal Lighthouse

conimicut lighthouse

Warwick, Rhode Island
Built in 1868


Entrance to Providence River in Narragansett Bay, sitting on Conimicut Point Shoal.

Latitude: 41° 43' 01" N
Longitude: 71° 20' 42" W


Historic Stories:

Conimicut Shoal Lighthouse is located on the entrance to the Providence River in Narragansett Bay, sitting on Conimicut Point Shoal. In 1868 a granite tower was built as a lighted aid for mariners. Early keepers were not provided with living quarters at Conimicut Lighthouse and had to make daily mile long trips that were sometimes quite dangerous in a rowboat to nearby Nayatt Point Lighthouse for overnight stays. Years later, in 1873, a five-room keeper's dwelling was built on the landing pier attached to the tower.


Keeper and Son Ride Ice Flow

Horace W. Arnold, was an eighth-generation descendant of Benedict Arnold, and was one of the early keepers at the lighthouse. He was famous for an incident that occurred at Conimicut lighthouse, one winter in 1875. As heavy ice floes were seriously threatening the lighthouse, Arnold decided, along with his son to abandon the station. They were able to get on top of an ice flow with a mattress to escape the danger.

Captain Sutton of the tug Reliance, who rescued the the keeper two hours later, would write that Arnold appeared as if he were “sitting like a man on a magic carpet.” Keeper Arnold was frostbitten so badly that it was several months before he could resume his duty at the light station, his son was also hospitalized for frostbite. The lighthouse survived the ice flows, but the keeper's house was destroyed, so Arnold and his family stayed at nearby inactive Nayatt Point light until the quarters were rebuilt.



Several years later Arnold's son was killed, when he fell from the lighthouse tower onto the rocks below.

early Conanicut light with spark plug style constrcution

Spark Plug Style Construction
Courtesy US Coast Guard

1882, the old granite tower was removed and a new cast-iron style, known as “spark plug lights” was built.

By the 1930’s at times as many as 50 local fishermen would crowd the lighthouse area to fish off the rocky shore.

vintage image of conimicut lighthouse
Courtesy US Coast Guard

It finally got to a point that the Coast Guard had to post the area as “off limits” for visitors.

Conimicut lighthouse was one of the last lighthouses in the US to convert to electricity in 1960.

In the spring of 1997, a Coast Guard crew was performing routine maintenance at the lighthouse, and found a stranded coyote that somehow had managed to swim to the lighthouse. They captured the animal and later released it back in the woods on shore.



Places to Visit Nearby:

Warwick offers plenty of parks, beaches, specialty shops and restaurants, and great golfing. one of many park beaches at Warwick

As Rhode Island's second largest city, Warwick 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.

Goddard State Park is Rhode Island's most popular park with trees from all over the world.

trees in bloom at Goddard Memorial Park

Trees Blooming at Goddard State Park

The Warwick Heritage Trail system is where you'll find plenty of examples of early historic architecture as well as one of the largest concentrations of retail stores for all you shopaholics.

Warwick harbor lighthouse tower during sunset.

Warwick Harbor Light Tower

In Warwick, visitors can get a partial view of the other beacon, Warwick Harbor lighthouse from Route 117 after the Aldrich Mansion.


Contact Info:
City of Warwick
3275 Post Rd
Warwick, RI 02886



Directions for a Distant View

Conimicut Lighthouse can be seen best from Conimicut Point Park in Warwick. It can also be viewed from a distance at Nayatt Point lighthouse in Barrington.


Local Boat Tours

Rhode Island Fast Ferry
Offers weekly lighthouse tours in season. Their narrated high-speed ferry cruises cover ten Rhode Island lighthouses in Narragansett Bay. They also provde ferry services to Martha's Vineyard and Block Island. On Martha's Vineyard, they provide a narrated 2.5-hour sightseeing island tour on a scheduled bus.

1347 Roger Williams Way
North Kingstown, RI 02852
Phone: (401) 295-4040


Save the Bay Tours
Organization for lighthouse and coastal preservation provides nature and seal watching tours. On select days in the summer, they provide an extensive 7-hour Ultimate Lighthouse Tour covering most of the lighthouses in Narragansett Bay.
100 Save the Bay Drive, Providence, RI 02905
Phone: (401) 272-3540


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 you can explore, and tours.

Look inside!

book about lighthouses and local coastal atttractions in southern New England




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