A 50 foot hammered freestone tower was first built and lit on Little Gull Island in 1806 in an effort to prevent the numerous wrecks that occurred in the hazardous waters where Block Island Sound and Long Island Sound meet. It represents one of the first efforts by the Federal Government to provide lighted navigational aids. During the war of 1812, the keepers of the original lighthouse overlooked naval activities between the Americans and the British that took place in the vicinity of “the Race”. The British did manage to land troops here in 1813, forced the keeper to extinguish the light, and removed the lamps to prevent its being relit. The present Little Gull Island Lighthouse was constructed in 1868, one of the last of the masonry structures built on the East coast. Some of its design elements – the Italianate inspired appearance, the distinctive door lintel, the cast iron central tower, stairs and watch deck floor – were the first glimpses of lighthouse architecture to come. The 9 ft. high 4 1/2 ft. diameter 2nd order Fresnel lens was originally installed in 1869.