As some of you may know, I am a lighthouse afficianado and visit them every chance I get. I love the romantic vision of them standing there night and day thru all kinds of weather guiding ships at sea. I also love the views from the top as long as I look out and not down. Believe it or not I first got interested in lighthouses from a sci-fi movie in the fifties called “The Beast From 20,000 fathoms.” 😀 There is a scene in there of two lighthouse keepers sitting in the light at night while the surf pounds against the rocks on a moonlight night. The beast (a giant dinosaur) comes out of the water and destroys the lighthouse, but it influenced me with the two keepers just romancing about the light and sounds of the seas.
This past week-end my wife and I took a trip down to Barnegat Lighthouse in Barnegat, New Jersey. A good friend of mine for 40 years lives near there now in Bayville, N.J. and we decided to visit him and take in the light. The pictures here are ones I took. I’ve been to Barnegat many times and up to the top a few times. October is a nice time to go because the air is clear and fresh and there aren’t that many people there. I didn’t go up the light this time even though it was open. There is a $3 fee from April to labor day and it is free after that. The light is opened year round weather permitting. The lighthouse has 217 steps and 172 feet tall and beautiful nature walks around it.
According to Wikipedia: In 1855, Lt. George G. Meade, an Army engineer and later a Union General in the American Civil War, was assigned to design a new lighthouse. He was chosen largely because of his recent design of Absecon Light. Meade completed the construction plans in 1855 and work began in late 1856.Barnegat Light was commissioned on January 1, 1859. The tower light was 172 feet (52 m) above sea level and the lighthouse itself was 163 feet (50 m) tall, four times taller than the original. The new light was a first-order flashing Fresnel lens, which stood about 12 feet (3.7 m) tall. The total cost of the project was about $40,000, with the lens alone costing $15,000. The current lighthouse is really two towers in one: the exterior conical tower covers a cylindrical tower on the inside.
Here are some additional facts I got from a lighthouse directory I have:
1859 (George G. Meade) (station established 1835). Reactivated (inactive 1944-2009); focal plane 163 ft (50 m); white flash every 10 s. 172 ft (52.5 m) brick tower with lantern and gallery. The Barnegat Light Museum, located nearby in a former schoolhouse, displays the original 1st order Fresnel lens. The lower half of the tower and the lantern roof are painted white, the upper half of the tower is bright red. The keeper’s house was destroyed in 1915. A photo is at right, Anderson has a fine page for the lighthouse, Long Beach Island also has a page with the history of the light station and a streaming video tour, Trabas has a photo, Wikimedia has numerous photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, Marinas.com has excellent aerial photos, and Google has a street view and asatellite view. This light, a sibling of Absecon Light, was the tallest U.S. lighthouse when it was built, and it is still the third tallest brick tower in the U.S., according to Lighthouse Heritage data. The Barnegat Light Historical Society supports maintenance and operation of the light station. A major restoration was completed in 1991. The tower is threatened by beach erosion; in 2001 the Army Corps of Engineers spent $1.38 million for a rock seawall to protect it. However, a Corps survey showed the tower is leaning 22 inches (56 cm) away from the vertical. In 2003 the state spent $500,000 to repaint and restore the tower. In September 2008, it was announced that the lighthouse would be relit on New Year’s Day 2009. In 2011, town officials were negotiating to lease the light station from the state. In August 2012 a lightning strike knocked out the light, and several months of repairs were needed to restore it. Located at the end of Broadway, off Central Avenue (extension of Long Beach Boulevard), on the north end of Long Beach Island. Site open, lighthouse open daily year round. Owner/operator:N.J. Division of Parks and Forestry. Site manager: Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. ARLHS USA-039; Admiralty J1223; USCG 2-0958.