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Castle Hill Lighthouse

Same as Castle Hill Lighthouse 2, only I used a High Pass filter to tone down the blue, a color my camera seems to be a magnet for, under cloudy skies.


History of Castle Hill:


The first structure to occupy Castle Hill was a watchtower built in 1740. Later, during the Revolutionary War, in April of 1776, a battery of cannons was located close by. They were used to attack the HMS Scarborough and the Cimetar. These British ships had been run out of Newport harbor after patriots stole two prize ships from them. The Scarborough and Cimetar had tried to give chase, but cannon fire from patriot row galleries, as well as from the north battery ( now called Battery park on Washington street ), and the current location of Fort Adams ( which back then was a part of the Brenton estate, and was known as Brenton's Point ) forced them to anchor between Jamestown and Rose Island. This did not last, as cannon fire erupted from the shore of Jamestown, and the Scarborough and Cimetar decided it was time to leave Newport Harbor, harassed all the way until they got past Castle Hill.


In 1869, plans to build a lighthouse here picked up steam. Money for the lighthouse was appropriated in 1875. Marine zoologist and Industrialist Alexander Agassiz had however built a large summer home on Castle hill shortly before the lighthouse money was made available. Agassiz refused to sell the land, so the lighthouse plans were put on hold.


In 1886, plans for the Lighthouse were revived, and this time Agassiz sold this portion of his land you see here. After some additional resistance, Agassiz relented another 2 acres of his land ( After the government threated to exercise it's eminent domain rights) to allow easier access to the lighthouse land. In 1890, the lighthouse was finally completed and became operational. The fog bell installed resulted in complaints from Agassiz, and the bell was stopped after 17 months. 5 years later, another and this time louder bell went into operation, and again Agassiz complained, so a screen to soften the sound was installed. Not sure when the modern Fog horn was installed. But the old bell is now on display at the Coast Guards Castle Hill Station on the other side of Castle Hill Cove.


In 1989, Castle Hill was witness to an oil spill, from the Greek oil tanker "World Prodigy", which ran aground on Brenton's Reef to the south. It spilled 290,000 gallons of fuel oil, killing marine life and contaminating the waters along southern Aquidneck Island. In 2005, a 350-foot freighter ran aground off the rocks close to the lighthouse, but it did not result in an oil spill. The Lighthouse itself is closed to the public, but the land surrounding it is not.


The Agassiz property was eventually sold to J.T. Connell, who turned the Agassiz cottage and property into the Castle Hill Inn and Resort. This occurred after the Hurricane of 1938. Alexander Agassiz had died in 1910. In 1938, Hurricane Carol, the most devastating to visit Newport, turned Castle Hill into an Island ( The waters from Castle Hill Cove and the beach to the south had risen and met up ). Agassiz's daughter-in-law had been staying at the cottage on the hill, and was traumatized by the hurricane. She never returned.

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Taken on February 24, 2007