January 11, 2024
DUE TO THE JANUARY 10 STORM, THE PROPERTY IS CLOSED UNTIL DEBRIS IS CLEARED.
January 6, 2024
Deed Transferring Ownership of Watch Hill Lighthouse to Watch Hill Lighthouse Keepers Association (WHLKA) Became Official on January 3, 2024
• WHLKA, a non-profit founded in 1986 to preserve the lighthouse, has raised and contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars over nearly 40 years to maintain the historic site.
• National Park Service Recommendation to transfer ownership to WHLKA was accepted by U.S. Secretary of Interior in June, 2023
• The Public will continue to have ample free access to the Lighthouse property.
Westerly, R.I. – January 6, 2024 – Ownership of the Watch Hill Lighthouse was officially transferred from the U.S. Government to the non-profit Watch Hill Lighthouse Keepers Association on January 3, 2024, following a lengthy review and submission of proof of capability, plans, and understanding of historic preservation requirements. Multiple competing bidders participated in the process but the WHLKA, which has managed and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars maintaining the property since 1986, was notified last summer that its application had been approved.
Said Ann Snowden Johnson, President, WHLKA, “The WHLKA was founded and continues to be run and funded by Westerly and Watch Hill residents. Our mission over nearly 40 years has been to maintain these beautiful structures on the site originally funded by an act signed in 1806 by President Thomas Jefferson. Since 1986, we have maintained abundant, responsible, and free public access to the property, establishing a museum and a website, and protecting the property by enhancing shoreline revetment and mitigating substantial erosion, especially after hurricanes and Superstorm Sandy. We look forward to continuing our mission.”
Snowden Johnson continued, “We thank former Senator Algiere, Senators Reed, Whitehouse and former Representative Langevin, all of our current and former Board members, and those members of various Westerly Town Councils, Westerly Town Managers, and the broader Westerly community who have supported us in our efforts over the years to ensure local Westerly control of this iconic asset. We remain committed to our original mission and to preserving this important part of Westerly’s maritime history – and public access to it -- for generations to come.”