Historic Photos and Documents


New Jersey Lighthouse "Firsts" & Calendar



  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.
  • 1850 The Brandywine Shoal Lighthouse the first completed lighthouse in the country built on a screwpile foundation.
  • 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 Beacon, Connecticut.
  • 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 lightship.
  • 1934 The first lighthouse in the country to be illuminated by a sodium vapor lamp is the Cape May Lighthouse.

 

  New Jersey Lighthouse Calendar

  • January 1, 1859 The present Barnegat Lighthouse first lighted.
  • January 2, 1881 Five Fathom Bank Lightship #40, slips her moorings during storm and heads for the Delaware Breakwater.
  • 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 lighted.
  • 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 Cohansey Lighthouse.
  • 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 completed.
  • 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 County.

  • 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 Island, NY.
  • March 22, 1950 Finns Point Rear Range Light discontinued.
  • March 25, 1911 Samuel Soper begins his duties as keeper of the Cohansey Lighthouse.
  • 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 punctured.


  • 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 Point Lighthouse.
  • April 16, 1874 Hereford Inlet Lighthouse completed.
  • 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

      

  • 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 lenses.
  • 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 Lighthouse.
  • May 18, 1826 Funds appropriated for the construction of the First Navesink Towers.


June

  • 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 I.O.V. apparatus.
  • 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 decommissioned.
  • July 15, 1971 East Point Lighthouse severely damaged by fire.
  • July 20, 1835 The first Barnegat Lighthouse first lighted.
  • 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 the ground.
  • August 23, 1893 Lightship #37, Five Fathom Bank founders at her moorings and sinks during a gale.
  • August 23, 1967 The Ambrose Light Tower becomes operational.
  • 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 cast.


  • 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 Bank.
  • 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 lighted.
  • 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 Station

  • November 1, 1912 The name of the Maurice River Lighthouse is officially changed to East Point Lighthouse.
  • 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 discontinued.
  • 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 illuminated.
  • 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 exhibited.
  • December 31, 1963 The Absecon Lighthouse was re-illuminated at midnight to symbolize the beginning of the New Jersey Tercentenary Year.

© 2005 NJLHS