Block Island Southeast Lighthouse, the second light station built on the island, warns sea traffic from the Atlantic Ocean en route to Long Island Sound of the dangerous shoals at the south end of Block Island.
Built in 1875, the octagonal fifty-two foot tower and attached keeper’s duplex are built of red brick on granite-block foundations. Victorian and Gothic Revival influences and an unusual sixteen-sided, cast-iron lantern give the lighthouse its distinctive appearance, and in 1997, it was designated a US National Historic Landmark.
In 1993 severe erosion of the Mohegan Bluffs caused the lighthouse to be moved 360-feet back from its original location. The original Fresnel lens, which is on display in the lighthouse museum, was replaced by a first-order Fresnel lens that flashes green every five seconds. A fog signal blasts every 30 seconds.
In addition to the keeper’s house, boathouse, garage, storage building and two cisterns remain at the station. The museum and a small gift shop are open during the summer months. Tours of the light tower are offered, and restorations are underway to allow for overnight stays.
The lighthouse is a 30-minute walk or short tax ride from the ferry terminal.