Oil Storage Building
In the early 1800s Newport inventor David Melville developed a way to manufacture flammable gas from coal tar. He lit Beavertail Light using his coal gas in an 1817 experiment, but the powerful whale oil industry blocked the use of coal gas. It would be another 50 years before colza oil (made from the seed of a type of turnip) replaced whale oil. Later, mineral oil and finally kerosene were used.
In 1905 the U.S. Lighthouse Board constructed this building to store fuel oil to light the lamps in the tower and in the houses. The buildings were also used to store fuel oil to operate the standby generator and the engine driven air compressor in the fog signal building.
The oil storage building was restored in 2010 by volunteers of the Beavertail Lighthouse Museum Association supplemented with a grant from the Newport Restoration Foundation.
Steadfast, serene, immovable, the same,
Burns on forevermore that quenchless flame,
Shines on that inextinguishable light!
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1849
Erected by Beavertail Lighthouse Museum Association.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Lighthouses series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1817.
Location. 41° 26.974′ N, 71° 23.958′ W. Marker is in Jamestown, Rhode Island, in Newport County. Marker can be reached from Beavertail Road. Marker is behind lighthouse and house in the Beavertail Lighthouse Museum property. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Jamestown RI 02835, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Keeper's House (a few steps from this marker); Fog Signal Building (a few steps from this marker); The Granite Light Tower (a few steps from this marker); History of the Beavertail Light Station (within shouting distance of this marker); The West Passage to Narragansett Bay (within shouting distance of this marker); The Assistant Keeper's House (within shouting distance of this marker); Whale Rock Lighthouse (within shouting distance of this marker); The 1749 Foundation (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Jamestown.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 2, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 22, 2012, by Bryan Simmons of Attleboro, Massachusetts. This page has been viewed 464 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on June 22, 2012, by Bryan Simmons of Attleboro, Massachusetts. 3. submitted on September 15, 2015, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.