Pelham Street Lamp (est. 1805) is located in Newport, Rhode Island. The city of Baltimore claims to have America's first street lamp, but that claim is erroneous. Though the Maryland city did indeed have the first publicly funded street lamp, it was in Newport, Rhode Island, that America's earliest gas street lamp first flickered to life. David Melville was a pewterer who lived in Newport. In the early 1800s, he decided to create a gas-powered street lamp to light the space outside his house.
In 1810, Melville obtained a patent for his invention. But despite interest from various political figures, he was unable to secure any funding. Seven years after he obtained his patent, a different model of a gas street lamp was introduced in Baltimore, first illuminating its Market Street in 1817. A street light marks the spot where Melville’s original creation stood (the original beacon decayed in the harsh coastal New England winters). Next to the commemorative light, there’s a plaque that memorializes his achievement. The bronze plaque and memorial street lamp are located on the little side street next to the 1 Pelham East nightclub. The light is actually on Pelham Street. The official address is 270 Thames St, Newport, RI 02840.