Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse have continued efforts to restore the century-and-a-half-year-old light station with historical accuracy. In 2021, Friends repaired the piping system on the south side of the building and resealed the lighthouse’s cistern. This brick-walled underground water reservoir is located in the building’s cellar. With a generous grant from the Squantum Association Charitable Foundation, volunteers have succeeded this summer in replacing piping and connecting the north system to the cistern. This project completely restores to full operation an historical water storage system that was used since the lighthouse was built in 1871. “We appreciate the support of the Squantum Association Charitable Foundation in enabling us to bring history to life,” stated Dennis Tardiff, chair of the Friends’ Board of Directors. “The cistern will be an important feature of our lighthouse tours this summer,” he added.
Pomham Rocks Lighthouse has relied on rainwater collected from its red tile roof to furnish water for cooking, bathing and drinking. A large gutter surrounding the roof and two downspouts direct the rainwater collected by the roof into pipes which lead down the sides of the two-story building to the storage cistern in the lighthouse cellar. Originally, the system was connected to a hand pump in the kitchen, which allowed the keeper to pump water out of the cistern as needed. The system now feeds the faucets on the first and second floors of the lighthouse and a flushing toilet. A divertor valve on the exterior piping allows the water flowing from the roof to be monitored. When the water runs clear and it is needed, the divertor valve can be closed manually, allowing the clear water to flow into the cistern for future use. When the cistern is full, the diverter can be opened to allow the water to flow off the island.
You can see this water storage system on a lighthouse tour. Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse offers scheduled tours to the island light station during the summer. For more information, to see a calendar of tour dates or to register for a tour, go to the lighthouse website at: www.pomhamrockslighthouse.org