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Newport Harbor
(Goat Island) Lighthouse

Newport Harbor lighthouse

Newport, Rhode Island
Built in 1824

Location:

Inside Newport Harbor, on the grounds of the Hyatt Regency Hotel. With their permission, you can go right on the grounds and view the lighthouse up close. They are very accommodating if you respectfully ask them.

Latitude: 41° 29' 36" N
Longitude: 71° 19' 37" W

 

Historic Stories:

early image Newport Harbor light
Early Newport Harbor Light
Courtesy US Coast Guard

Newport Harbor Lighthouse was the first lighthouse built in the Newport area on Goat Island in 1824.

It was built to mark a treacherous rocky shoal that extended out from the island. Even with the light established, ships rounding the northern part of Goat Island at night or in stormy weather would sometimes run aground on the shoal.

The Navy purchased the island and Fort Wolcott in 1869. In 1906, the Navy Torpedo Factory was built on the island employing thousands. The first self-propelled torpedo was developed, and during World War II, 80% of the torpedoes used in the war were produced at Goat Island.

Keeper Charles Schoeneman, who was appointed in 1883, stayed on for 39 years and would become so well known that locals often referred to his station as Schoeneman's Light. Newport Harbor light tower

Schoeneman was also responsible for saving the lives of several sailors from the destroyer Myrant in 1912. The men were fishing from a sailboat, which was hit and overturned by a sudden squall. The nearly 70-year-old keeper quickly went to their aid without hesitation.

In 1921, the submarine N-4, accidentally hit the breakwater, damaging the keeper's dwelling, which had to be torn down. Schoeneman who was now in late seventies, retired afterwards as the remains of the keeper’s house was demolished and the light was electrified, with personnel from the torpedo station maintaining operations.

During the hurricane of September 21, 1938, the Pequonnock struck the breakwater at Goat Island before finally going aground at nearby Gould Island.

early image Newport Harbor light
Newport Harbor Light
Without Breakwater
Courtesy US Coast Guard

The severe damage to the breakwater left the lighthouse isolated for years.
Some time later, the area connecting the island to the mainland was filled in when the Goat Island Sheraton Hotel (today known as the Hyatt Regency Hotel) was constructed. Relaxing small park atmoshpere by Newport Harbor light

 

 

Places to Visit Nearby:

You can reach the grounds of Newport Harbor lighthouse by quietly passing through the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, ask permission first.

The tower and area is protected from storms by a large stone breaker. Newport Harbor lighthouse with stone breaker for protection

Newport is Rhode Island’s gateway for tourists with concerts and events. Newport plays host to a number of festivals during the summer months, including the Newport Jazz Festival, Newport special waterfront events, the Newport Folk Festival, and the Newport International Boat Show.

Visit the Museum of Newport History to learn about Newport’s rich history and architectural beauty in its many mansions.

Tourists from all over the world come to visit Newport's many attractions.

Breakers Mansion in Newport

The Breakers
(Vanderbuilt) Mansion

Including it’s most elaborate mansions with tours of the rich and famous that shaped America’s 19th and 20th centuries.

They include the Marble House, the Breakers, the Hunter House, Elms, Rosecliff, the Chateau-sur-Mer, Chepstow, the Kingscote, the Isaac Bell House, and Belcourt Castle which offers another unique opportunity to step back in time and enjoy the atmosphere of the Gilded Age.

The Cliff Walk is 3.5 miles along an elevated path, where you'll get the chance to see the many mansions that define Newport along with picturesque views of the harbor. It begins at First Beach, or Easton's Beach, and finishes at the private Bailey's Beach.

Other walks in Newport include the Newport Harbor Walk and the Ten Mile Ocean Drive with many of those miles you have public access to the shoreline, starting at the Breakers mansion.

 

Directions:

small park by Newport Harbor lighthouse

 

Contact Info:

Friends of Newport Harbor Lighthouse
c/o American Lighthouse Foundation
PO Box 565
Rockland, ME 04841

sailboat moored near Newport Harbor light

 

 

Local Boat Tours

Boat cruises mentioned below offer many types of cruises, like specific charters, narrated wildlife and historic tours, ferrying passengers, fishing tours and other types of excursions. Enjoy!

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
Email: info@fastferry.com

 

Save the Bay Tours
Organization for education on lighthouse and coastal preservation and provides nature and seal watching tours. For those who prefer a relaxing tour, they provide an extensive 7-hour Ultimate Lighthouse Tour covering most of the lighthouses in Narragansett Bay. The cruise includes a stopover lunch to explore the grounds of Rose Isand Lighthouse.
100 Save the Bay Drive, Providence, RI 02905
Phone: (401) 272-3540 x103

 

Classic Cruises of Newport
Newport Harbor excursions aboard a newly restored Elco Motor Yacht, called the Rumrunner, built during prohibition in 1929 for local bootleggers, or go sailing on the 72-foot Schooner Madeleine, the 80-foot Schooner Adirondack II, or 48-foot Sloop Eleanor, which include sunset sails. All offer views by the Newport lighthouses, and they have a special "Lighthouses and Mimosas" Cruise to view those lighthouses in the southern end of Narragansett Bay.

22 Bowens Wharf, Newport RI 02840
Main Office: 401-862-8441
Tickets: (401) 847-0000

 

Coastal Queen Cruises
Offers lighthouse tours around the Newport Harbor and lower Narragansett Bay area. Guests will have panoramic views of Rose Island Lighthouse, Castle Hill Light, Goat Island Lighthouse and more. Tour boat has a weatherproof interior that can be heated on chilly days, and an open-air covered deck where the clear side curtains can roll up for catching the ocean breezes or rolled down for warmth.

5 Bowen's Landing, Bowen's Wharf 
Newport, RI 02840
Phone: (401) 423-9900 x1 
Email: info@cruiseri.com

 

Snappa Charters
Offers specific lighthouse tours around Narragansett Bay and to Block Island in addition to other adventure tours like sport fishing, whale watching, and shark tagging.

Mailing Address: 2 Congdon Dr., Wakefield, RI 02816
Boat Location: 33 State Street, Narragansett, RI 02882
Boat/Cell (401) 487-9044
Email: snappacharters@cox.net

 

Jamestown Newport Ferry
They provide daily service from Memorial Day to Labor Day at five stops: Jamestown, Rose Island Lighthouse and Newport's Fort Adams, Ann Street Pier and Perrotti Park. Cruises and tours are also available.

1 East Ferry Wharf
Jamestown, RI 02835
Phone: (401) 423-9900
Email: info@cruiseri.com

 

 

New Book Just Published Summer 2023!

The Rise and Demise of the Largest Sailing Ships:
Stories of the Six and Seven-Masted
Coal Schooners of New England

book of the rise and demise of the largest sailing ships

To order a signed paperback copy:

Available also from bookstores in paperback, hard cover, and as an eBook for all devices.

my ebook on apple books

In the early 1900s, New England shipbuilders constructed the world’s largest sailing ships amid social and political reforms. These giants of sail were the ten original six-masted coal schooners and one colossal seven-masted vessel, built to carry massive quantities of coal and building supplies, and measured longer than a football field!

This book, balanced with plenty of color and vintage images, showcases the historical accounts that followed these mighty ships. These true stories include competitions, accidents, battling destructive storms, acts of heroism, and their final voyages.

Click for larger video here.

 

 

My 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 and tours you can explore. There are detailed stories of Rhode Island's most famous keeper, Ida Lewis of the nearby Lime Rock Light, and other regional stories.

Look inside!

book about lighthouses and local coastal atttractions in southern New England

 

 

 

 

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