Historic Photos and Documents
New Jersey Lighthouse "Firsts" &
- 1823 The Sandy
Hook Lightship becomes the first outside
lightship in the United States.
- 1841 Navesink Twin
Lights becomes the first lighthouse in the New
World to be equipped with a Fresnel lens.
The Brandywine Shoal Lighthouse the first
completed lighthouse in the country built on a
- 1868 Sandy Hook East
Beacon becomes the first lighthouse in the country
to be equipped with a steam driven fog siren.
- 1883 Navesink Twin
Lights becomes the initial first-order lighthouse
to use mineral oil (kerosene) for fuel.
- 1889 The Sandy Hook
Lighthouse becomes the first lighthouse in the
U.S. to use the incandescent lamp.
- 1898 The Navesink
Twin Lights South tower had a second order
Bi-Valve lens installed which was brighter than
most first order lights in the US. It was lit by
electricity and was one of the most powerful
lighthouse(s) in the nation at this time.
- 1899 The first
wireless messages to be sent and received in the
U.S. were exchanged between operators aboard the
S.S. Ponce and Twin Lights.
- 1903 Compressed
acetylene disolved in acetone was first used as
fuel at the Sandy Hook South Beacon and Jones Rock
- 1921 The Sea Girt
Lighthouse and Ambrose Lightship became
the first stations to use a radio fog beacon. A
device was also installed aboard the Fire Island
- 1934 The first
lighthouse in the country to be illuminated by a
sodium vapor lamp is the Cape May Lighthouse.
- January 1, 1859 The present Barnegat Lighthouse
- January 2, 1881 Five Fathom Bank Lightship #40,
slips her moorings during storm and heads for the
- January 1, 1944 The Coast Guard extinguished
Barnegat Lighthouse for good.
- January 16, 1912 Samuel Flick, the first known
"custodian" of the East Point Lighthouse takes the
oath of office.
- January 15, 1857 The Absecon Lighthouse first
- January 22, 2001 The 492 foot Maltese freighter Kouros V slams
into the Ambrose Light destroying the tower.
- January 24, 1883 Ten acres of land purchased by
Federal Government for the construction of the
- January 25, 1971 Absecon Lighthouse was added to
the National Register of Historic Places.
- February 1, 1910 The Elbow of Cross Ledge
Lighthouse was first illuminated.
- February 13, 1913 The Miah Maull Lighthouse is
- February 15, 1950 Mayor John H. Heitzenroder turns
on a small token light in Barnegat Lighthouse as
part of the 100th Anniversary Celebration of Ocean
- March 4, 1776 Congress
resolves to destroy the Sandy Hook Lighthouse so as
not to aid the British in the conquest of New York.
- March 12, 1776 Lighting
apparatus removed from Sandy Hook Lighthouse by
Major Malcolm is turned over to Colonel George
Taylor of the Monmouth County Militia.
- March 15, 1988 The last
Coast Guard "keepers" are removed from the Ambrose
Light-tower. The station is now operated
electronically by the Coast Guard on Governor's
- March 22, 1950 Finns
Point Rear Range Light discontinued.
- March 25, 1911 Samuel
Soper begins his duties as keeper of the Cohansey
- March 28, 1950
The Ambrose Lightship was struck at 4:04am, the
morning of March 28, 1950, by the Grace Line's
passenger/cargo ship, Santa Monica. This occurred
during heavy fog with zero visibility accompanied
by gale force winds, which also delayed other
liners in New York Harbor such as the Queen
Elizabeth. Crew members of the Ambrose were
not hurt, but the hull of the lightship was
- April 2, 1877 Finns Point Front and Rear Range
Lights first illuminated.
- April 11, 1849 Deed from Joshua Brick and his wife
conveying a tract of land to the U.S. Government is
recorded. The land becomes the site of the East
- April 16, 1874 Hereford Inlet Lighthouse
- April 23, 1924 The first test of tube transmitter
for Radio fog signal station which was developed to
take the place of the spark transmitters in use was
placed in service on the Ambrose Channel Lightship.
- April 27, 1958 Maurice River Cove Lighthouse
destroyed by fire.
- May 1, 1847 The First Cape May Lighthouse
discontinued as untenable.
- May 1, 1851 The Brandywine Shoal Lightship is
transferred to Minots Ledge.
- May 1, 1862 The current Navesink Twin Lights,
(replacing the 1828 towers) were first lit with two
new first order Drum or Beehive shaped Fresnel
- May 1, 1921 The first radio fog signals in the
United States were placed in commission at the
Ambrose Channel Lightship, Sea Girt Light station
and the Fire Island Lightship, N.Y.
- May 8, 1926 Title to Barnegat Lighthouse deeded
from Federal Government to the State of New Jersey,
but the Coast Guard reserved the right to maintain a
beacon there until December 31, 1943.
- May 8, 1761 A Lottery authorized by the Assembly
of New York to raised funds for the erection of a
beacon on Sandy Hook.
- May 10, 1762 Mr. Isaac Hartshorne conveys title to
the Sandy Hook tract to the representatives of the
New York lottery.
- May 11, 1874 First Illuminated Hereford Inlet
- May 18, 1826 Funds appropriated for the
construction of the First Navesink Towers.
- June 9, 1938 The
light is removed from the Finns Point Rear Range
Lighthouse and placed on a white skeleton tower stop
on a concrete based in front of the former Finns
Point Front Range Light.
- June 10, 2000
Sandy Hook Lighthouse re-dedicated after renovation
work completed (236th Anniversary).
- June 11, 1764
The Sandy Hook Lighthouse is first lighted.
- June 11, 1896
Congress appropriates $4,500 for the construction of
the Maurice River Range Lights.
- June 13, 1763 A
second New York lottery is held to raise funds for
the completion of the Sandy Hook Lighthouse.
- June 22, 1910
Absecon Lighthouse's mineral oil lamps replaced by
- June 24, 1960
Relief #78 rammed and sunk by freighter Green
Bay, but crew escapes injury.
- June 26, 1766
Sandy Hook Lighthouse struck by lightning, despite
the lightning rod on its roof.
- June 30, 1834
Congress authorizes the first Barnegat Lighthouse.
- June 30, 1910
Harriet Yates appointed Keeper of Sea Girt
Lighthouse. She serves until July 24, 1910 when John
L. Hawkey is appointed.
- July 1, 1925 Absecon Lighthouse electrified.
- July 7, 1884 Congress appropriates $5,000 for
construction of Ludlum Beach Lighthouse
- July 11, 1933 The Absecon Lighthouse is
- July 15, 1971 East Point Lighthouse severely
damaged by fire.
- July 20, 1835 The first Barnegat Lighthouse first
- July 21, 1933 Cohansey Lighthouse burns to the
ground under mysterious circumstances.
- August 3, 1983 contract awarded to K&K
Painting of Baltimore for the restoration of Finns
Point Rear Range Lighthouse.
- August 10, 1877 Ship John Shoal Lighthouse
illuminated for the first time.
- August 14, 1871 The Absecon lighthouse receives
it first coats of paint-3 50 foot bands of white,
red, and white.
- August 20, 1838 The Egg Island Lighthouse first
exhibits its light.
- August 20, 1950 The Egg Island Lighthouse burns to
- August 23, 1893 Lightship #37, Five Fathom
Bank founders at her moorings and sinks during
- August 23, 1967 The Ambrose Light Tower becomes
- August 31, 1852 Funds appropriated by Congress for
the construction of the Conover Beacon.
- September 9, 1941 Original Conover Beacon razed.
- September 12, 1838 The Sandy Hook Lightship breaks
her moorings in a gale. $500.00 reward offered for
the return of her moorings.
- September 19, 1979 Maurice River Range Light
Station officially discontinued.
- September 20, 1855 Lt. George Gordon Meade submits
his report after inspecting the original Barnegat
Lighthouse. Hereford Inlet Lighthouse listed on
National Register of Historic Places. (1977).
- September 23, 1785 A deed conveys a tract of land
from Thomas Hand to the Board of Wardens of the Port
of Philadelphia, presumably for the construction of
a lighthouse at Cape May. No evidence to date
indicates the lighthouse was built at this time.
- September 27, 1934 Cape May Light changed to
Sodium Vapor light which gave the beacon a yellowish
- October 1, 1881 The lights of the Horseshoe Range,
East Group are first exhibited.
- October 12, 1927 Tucker's Island Lighthouse falls
into the sea after its foundation was washed out..
- October 14, 1984 An open house held at Finns Point
Rear Range Lighthouse to honor the efforts of those
involved in the restoration effort.
- October 16, 1893 The U.S.S. Vesuvius
destroys the wreck of Lightship #37, Five Fathom
- October 17, 1898 Frank T. Hills begins his duties
as keeper of the Maurice River Range Light Station.
- October 20, 1914 The second Brandywine Shoal
Lighthouse, a caisson-type, is first lighted.
- October 20, 1885 Ludlum Beach Lighthouse first
- October 20, 1953 The Steel Apprentice, and
ore freighter, rams the Elbow of Cross Ledge
Lighthouse, virtually destroying the lighthouse.
- October 23, 1878 The 1838 Cohansey Lighthouse is
severly damaged in a storm.
- October 28, 1850 Brandywine Shoal Lighthouse
screwpile first lighted
- October 28, 2006 Navesink Lighthouse was added to
the National Historical Landmarks.
- October 31, 1859 Present Cape May Lighthouse (the
third) first lighted.
- October 1996 The 754
foot Greek oil tanker Aegeo hits the Ambrose Light
- November 1, 1912 The name of the Maurice River
Lighthouse is officially changed to East Point
- November 2, 1857 The first Barnegat Lighthouse
topples into the sea.
- November 2, 1905 Rufus D. Lingo assumes duties as
keeper at the Maurice River Range Light Station but
is replaced on November 25, 1905.
- November 3, 2007 The tanker Axel Spirit struck
the Ambrose Light Station tower. No injuries or
pollution were reported.
- November 15, 1876 The Deepwater Point Front and
Rear Range Lights are first illuminated.
- November 16, 1790 New Jersey cedes Sandy Hook
Lighthouse to the Federal Government.
- November 21, 1923 Ludlum Beach Lighthouse heavily
damaged in fire when keeper's cat knocks over a
unattended oil lamp.
- November 25, 1900 The British schooner Goldseeker
drifts across Scotland Lightship #7's bow,
but damage was minimal.
- November 25, 1905 Daniel Bailey assumed duties at
Maurice River Range Light Station taking over from
Rufus T. Lingo.
- December 5, 1854 The deed conveyed from the Camden
and Atlantic Land Company to the United States
Government for the purchase of a site for the
Absecon Lighthouse at a cost of $520.00.
- December 5, 1913 Fog signal at Miah Maull Light
station completed and ready for use.
- December 7, 1941 East Point Lighthouse
- December 8, 1875 Construction at the Cross Ledge
lighthouse is completed to the point that a light
can be exhibited from the tower.
- December 8, 1876 Edward (Thomas) Dickinson
appointed keeper of the Finns Point Rear Range
Lighthouse at a salary of $500 per annum.
- December 9, 1875 The Upper Middle Lightship (Cross
Ledge) Lightship is removed from her station due to
the completion of the Cross Ledge Lighthouse.
- December 10, 1896 Sea Girt Lighthouse first
- December 20, 1983 Nantucket Lightship
(commissioned as Ambrose WLV-613) relieved
from station by a LNB. the last lightship to be
decommissioned in the United States.
- December 26, 1880 Lightship #40, Five Fathom
Bank damaged in a storm.
- December 31, 1880 The lights of the Fort Mifflin
Bar Cut Front Range Lighthouse, also known as the
Tinicum Island Front Range Lighthouse, and the
Fort Mifflin BarCut Rear Range Lighthouse are first
- December 31, 1963 The Absecon Lighthouse was
re-illuminated at midnight to symbolize the
beginning of the New Jersey Tercentenary Year.