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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.”


The Watch Hill Lighthouse, located on a peninsula in southwestern Rhode Island, is managed by the Watch Hill Lighthouse Keepers Association under a mandate from the United States Coast Guard. The mission of the association is to preserve and protect this historical landmark.



Ann Johnson, PRESIDENT

Peter McCormick, TREASURER

Regina Livingston, SECRETARY

Board of Directors

D. James Daras

John B. Daukas

Paul Dewey

Sarah Emanuel

Betty-Jo Greene

Beaumont Lett

Elizabeth Masterson

Lisa McGill

Heidi McWilliams

Gil Menna

Peter Renehan

Aaron Simmons


Judy Lentz

The Lighthouse can be accessed by foot via a private road and is open from 8AM to sunset throughout the year. Vehicles are permitted only for the handicapped and senior citizens. Parking is available in the village of Watch Hill, a short walk from Larkin Road which provides access to the Lighthouse property. The Lighthouse itself and its adjacent structures are restricted to the public. However, our museum is open on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons from 1-3 pm in July and August and through the week after Labor Day.

The use of fires and grills, consumption of alcoholic beverages, athletic endeavors such as ball or Frisbee playing, the launching or use of fireworks and the launching of watercraft are strictly prohibited. Visiting dogs must be leashed. Sanitary facilities are not available. The property is regularly patrolled by the Westerly Police Department and a private security force. The Lighthouse surroundings are rocky and dangerous, and visitors are cautioned that they proceed at their own risk.




Please send donations via PayPal or check.

If you’d like to send a check, please make it payable to “The Watch Hill Lighthouse Keepers Association” or “WHLKA” and send to us here:

The Watch Hill Lighthouse Keepers Association
P.O. Box 1511
Westerly, RI 02891

For Immediate Donations, Please Click 'Donate' Below
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From I-95 South Bound

  • Take RI-3S Exit 1 toward Ashaway/Westerly/Bradford

  • Slight right onto Main St./RI-3S. Continue to follow Rt 3

  • Merge onto RI-78/Westerly Bypass via ramp on the LEFT

  • RI-78 Becomes Airport Road, go straight at the intersection

  • Airport Rd. becomes Winnapaug Rd.

  • Turn LEFT onto Watch Hill Rd/RI-1A

  • Continue on Watch Hill Rd/RI-1A past “European Import Service” (on your right) and the Watch Hill Firehouse (on your left)

  • Turn LEFT onto Bluff Ave.

  • Bluff Ave Becomes Larkin Rd.

  • Turn LEFT onto lighthouse Rd.


From I-95 North Bound

  • Take CT-2, Exit 92, toward CT-49/North Stonington/Pawcatuck

  • Turn RIGHT onto CT-2/Liberty St.

  • Merge onto CT-78E Toward Westerly/Misquamicut Beaches

  • CT-78E Becomes Airport Rd.

  • Airport Rd. Becomes Winnapaug Rd.

  • Turn LEFT onto Watch Hill Rd/RI-1A

  • Continue on Watch Hill Rd./RI-1A past “European Import Service” (on your right) and the Watch Hill Firehouse (on your left)

  • Turn LEFT onto Bluff Ave.

  • Bluff Ave. Becomes Larkin Rd.

  • Turn LEFT onto Ligthhouse Rd.



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