February 15, 2019

Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse: Life in a Lighthouse


Step back in time to learn what it was it was like to be a lighthouse keeper. Fred Mikkelsen, a member of Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse, was one of the last keepers at Conimicut Shoals Lighthouse in Warwick, serving from 1958-1960. The cast iron sparkplug-shaped light station, constructed in 1883, stands at the tip of the Conimicut Point Sandbar at the entrance to the Providence River. Its flashing white beacon can be seen from the East Providence shore.
Mr. Mikkelsen was an 18-year-old Coast Guardsman when he was assigned keeper at Conimicut Shoals Lighthouse. At that time, the beacon was produced by an incandescent oil vapor lamp and fourth-order Fresnel lens. In poor weather, the fog bell had to be wound by hand, running for two hours on 10 minutes of winding. Conimicut Shoals Lighthouse was one of the last lighthouses in the country to convert to electricity, in the early 1960s.
Fred Mikkelsen will discuss his fascinating experience of living in a lighthouse at a presentation sponsored by Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse. The program will be held on March 19 at 7:00 p.m. in the St. Brendan School Hall on Turner Avenue in Riverside. The public is invited to the presentation. Pomham Rocks merchandise will be available for sale, along with tickets for the “Sunset, Moonlight and Daylight Cruise” raffle. Refreshments will be served.


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