Report for Purnham Rock Light (Rhode Island) - 1873

District: 3rd
Inspector: Lighthouse Engineer
Location: Providence River, RI (E side) near eastern edge of Channel. Lighthouse is founded on Purnham Rock, on walls built of rock faced granite about 4 miles from Providence, RI.
Date of Report: 12/03/1873
Latitude: 41° 46' 37"
Longitude: 71° 21' 51"
Date of Reservation:
Date of Deed:
Date of Permission:
Date of Lease:
Area of the Entire Site:
Area Inclosed:
Character of Soil:
Distance of tower from Nearest High-Water Mark:
Inclosures to Premises / Type of Fence: Wood fence, posts & top rail.
Wharf or Landing on Premises: Wharf is made of Chestnut logs spiked together, forming a crib & filled with stone, a wooden platform is built from rock to wharf.
Road to Land or Wharf Chararacter of and Distance: Across rock abouve 200' from tower to wharf.
Means to Reach Light Station: By boats, lighthouse is built on a rock surrounded by water.
Distance to Nearest Road: 3/4 mile to RR station; 1/2 mile to steamboat landing.
Distance to Post Office: 1 mile
Distance to Village: 1/2 mile
Facilities for Public Conveyance:
Facilities for Private Conveyance:
Means Used for Support of Lantern: Wooden tower
Number of Separate Lights: 1
First Built or Established: 1871
Last Rebuilt, Repaired, or Renovated:
Condition at This Date: In order
Shape of Tower in Plan: Square, watchroom, roof & lantern deck octagon in shape
Form of Tower:
Height from Base to Ventilator Ball: 37.8'
Height of Focal Plane Above Mean High Water: 69'
Background of Lighthouse as Seen from Sea: Providence RI
Color of Tower: White
Color of Tower/ How Produced: Oil paint
Tower Connection: Connected w/ Keeper's dwelling, tower rises in center of front & is attached to dwelling.
Object of Navigation:
Building Materials: Wood
General Description:
Wall Thickness at Base: 6" wood frame
Wall Thickness at Parapet: 6" wood frame
Diameter at Base: 8' 9"
Diameter at Parapet: 8' 9"
Kind of Stairway and Steps: Stairway white pine, steps yellow pine
Number of Landings: 2
Size of Glass: 8" x 12"
Number of Windows and Size of Sash: 3 windows, sash 17" wide x 37.5" high
Number of Doors: None, stairway landing
Kind of Foundation and Depth Below Surface: Rock foundation
Character of Soil Surrounding the Lighthouse: Soil thinly scattered on surface of rock.
Soil Susceptibility:
Miscellaneous Remarks: Bldg is of wood, 1 story high, covered w/ mansard roof, & founded on rock, on walls built of rock faced granite. Tower rises in center of front of dwelling.
Lantern and Fixtures
Order of Lantern: 6th
Shape of Lantern:
Diameter to Glass: 6' 7 7/8"
Diameter in the Clear:
Number of Sides: 8
Type of Bars:
Thickness of Bars:
Height Glazed: 35"
Number of Plates in Height: One
Number of Plates Each Side: One
Thickness of Plates: 3/8"
Size of Plates: 30" x 35"
Number of Storm Panes:
Unglazed Side of Lantern:
What Bearings:
Construction Material Lantern: Plate iron. Cast iron, wrought iron & sheet copper, interior of roof of lantern lined with sheet zinc.
Construction Material Roof / Cowl: Plate iron 1/8" thick
Ventilator / Cowl:
Lightning Spindle: Platinum lightning point is attached to top of pinnacle of lantern.
Description of Lightning Rod: 1/2" copper wire rope properly insulated reaches from top of lantern to rock, from there a soldered copper rod extends below low water mark & is secured to rock with galvanized wrought iron brackets.
Balustrade: Wrought iron railing.
Lantern Doors: Made of white pine flooring 1 1/4" thick x 4" wide, double thick tongues & grooved & secured with wood screws & hung w/ 8" brass strap hinges & screws. Internal door has brass lock & knob exterior door two 6" brass bolts.
Floor of Lantern: Laid w/ 2 courses of yellow pine flooring plank 1" thick, 5" wide tongued & grooved & covered w/ sheet copper.
Watchroom Doors: Lantern floor covered with door made of white pine flooring 1 1/4" thick by 4" wide double thick tongued & grooved. Secured w/ wood screws hung w/ galvanized wrought iron strap hinges & ring.
Parapet Diameter:
Location / Number: In parapet, 3
Ladders / Cleaning Arrangement:
Curtain Hooks / Hanger: Screwed into astragals of lantern

How is Watchroom Fitted: Stairway leads from 2nd floor to watchroom & a wooden step ladder from there into lantern.
How is Relief Called:
Where is Call System Led:
Illuminating Apparatus
Kind of Apparatus:
Intensity in Candles:
Name of Maker:
Year Made:
Marks and Number:
Order of Apparatus: 6th
Inside Diameter:
Light Characteristic: Fixed red
Time of Revolution:
Flash Interval:
Duration of Flash:
Arc of Each Fixed Part: Fixed, 300 degrees, N by W'd to S.
Number of Panels: 4
Number of Flash Panels:
Arc of Each:
Number of Elements in Central Drum:
Number of Prisms Above Center Drum: 5
Number of Prisms Below Center Drum: 3
Does Apparatus Revolve?: False
Is There a Revolving Belt?: False
Revolving Panels:
How Flash is Produced:
Number of Vertical Elements Panel:
Fixed Lens Covered:
Pedestal: Cast iron 3' 8" in height.
Service Table:
Draft Tube Description:
Revolving Machinery:
Standby and Description:
Chariot Float or Balls:
Chariot Description:
Length of Drop Tube:
Clock Weight:
Length of Winding Time:
Drive During Rewind:
Machinery Protection:
Lens Protection:
How Color is Produced: By red chimney
Red Sectors Description:
Where Color Attached:
Form of Colored Glass:
Lamp Description: Funck's lamp, 1 wick to burner.
Type of Illuminant:
Number of Spare Lamps: 1
Number of Spare Burners: 2
Candle Power:
Closets and Store Rooms
Tower Closet Use:
Oil House Description: Oil room is placed in 1st story of dwelling & is provided w/ stand for oil butts made of yellow pine & fitted w/ a work bench w/ box for spare glass underneath of white pine, top & front hung w/ strong brass hinges & brass fastenings.
Oil House Inside Dimension:
Oil House Construction Material:
Oil House Capacity: 3 - 50-gallon oil butts; 1 5-gallon oil can.
Other (Describe): 1 closet in entry fitted w/ hat & clothes hooks. Closets in 1st & 2nd stories fitted w/ shelves, hat & clothes hooks, 1 large storeroom detached from dwelling fitted w/ shelves & counter used for provisions, coal, wood & stores.
Suitability: Dry & suited to purpose.
Location: Connected, tower is built on top of keeper's dwelling
Construction Materials: Wood, 1-story high covered w/ mansard roof of wood.
Number of Rooms: 8
Number of Dwellings:
Heating Plant:
Number of Keepers: 1 keeper
Furnished Quarters:
NOT Furnished Quarters:
Outhouses: 3; 1 large storeroom of wood, 1 hen house of wood & 1 privy.
Outhouse Coloring:
Paths and Walks:
Area Inclosed:
Area of Garden:
Area Timber or Shrubbery:
Cultivation Area Available:
Area Cultivated:
Character of Surroundings:
Stove, Maker:
Stove, Size:
Sink, Maker:
Sink, Size:
Pump, Maker:
Pump, Size:
How Procured: Rain water conveyed from roof of dwelling into cistern.
Quality: Good
Quantity: Ample
Injury Possible: Not liable
Purity Precaution: Rain water in cistern is provided w/ a filter set in a 4" brick wall.
Tank Capacity: Capacity of cistern, 4900 gallons. Cistern is placed in the cellar.
Tank Material: Cistern built of brick, interior walls covered w/ 2 coats of cement mortar, last coat of cement only. Cistern is closed on top by vault of 8" brick.
Distilling Apparatus: False
Distilling Manufacturer:
Well Description:
Well Diameter: 12' x 11' 9"
Well Lining: Lined w/ cement mortar
Pump or Bucket: Pump
What Power Used:
Distance from Dwelling: In cellar of keepers dwelling.
General Opinion: Healthy
Local Causes:
Recommended Improvements:
Access to Lighthouse: Landing wharf & boat house was built on N side of rock in 1872. Boat house is built on top of wharf projecting over on inside & enclosed & covered in on 3 sides, a wooden platform extends from wharf to rock from which path leads over rock to lighthouse.
Distance and Direction:
Miscellaneous Remarks: Station is in excellent order & is creditable to the Keeper.