2011-04-21 / News

Plum Beach lighthouse license plate named second best in country

The Automobile License Plate Collectors Association recently voted Rhode Island’s Plum Island Lighthouse license plate as 2010’s second best plate in the United States behind only New Mexico’s centennial plate, which honored the state’s 100th anniversary of statehood.

The ALPCA has honored the top plate each year since 1970 and the second-place award for Rhode Island is its best finish to date. Maryland came in third.

The Plum Beach Lighthouse was built in 1899 and is located in North Kingstown. It can be seen on the north side of the Jamestown Bridge. Use of the lighthouse was disabled in 1941 when the old Jamestown Bridge was constructed. The Friends of the Plum Beach Lighthouse bought the lighthouse in 1999 and it was restored and reactivated in 2003. It is in the National Register of Historic Places.

Founded in 1954, ALPCA is the world’s oldest and largest nonprofi t organization devoted to researching, collecting and promoting license plates. The association has over 3,000 members from all 50 states and 19 countries.

In October 2009, state legislation approved a bill that required 900 plates to be pre-sold before the state would begin production of the plates. It took just two months for the Friends of the Plum Beach Lighthouse to surpass that total.

Last June, 1,642 initial Plum Beach Lighthouse license plates were made at the Adult Correctional Institute in Cranston. The Friends of the Plum Beach Lighthouse offered the plates as a fundraiser to benefit the lighthouse. The group was able to raise enough money from plate purchases to repaint the lighthouse in August 2010.

To date, more than $70,000 has been raised from the 4,000- plus plates sold to Rhode Islanders. The specialty plate is sold for $41.50 and $20 from each purchase goes directly to help maintain the lighthouse. Because of the artwork on the plate, only a registration of five digits or less qualify for the plate.

Of the 12 license plates nominated for the 2010 award, six were new general issue plates, while the other six — including Rhode Island’s — were optional, extra-cost plates.

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