The history of Block Island is strewn with shipwrecks and sea rescues — the shoals surrounding the island are so dangerous, in fact, that it’s estimated half of the shipwrecks in New England have occurred off its coast. In an effort to drive down that average, islanders built this picturesque red-brick lighthouse in an unusual Gothic Victorian style. Two centuries later, it was the lighthouse itself that was in danger of falling into the sea when erosion had beat back the bluffs to within just a few dozen yards of the tower. A museum inside now details the heroic effort to move the lighthouse back from the bluffs in 1993, sliding it along beams lubricated with Ivory soap. You can also climb the wrought-iron spiral stairs up into the 50-foot tower to see the working Fresnel lens that still shines its beam some 35 miles out to sea in a continuing effort to guide ships past the rocky shoals of Block.