Visiting East Point Lighthouse - Heislerville, NJ









History | Characteristics | Keepers | Visiting Info
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History

The East Point Lighthouse was built in 1849 at the mouth of the Maurice River. For many years it was known as the Maurice River Lighthouse. The lighthouse site was deeded to the U.S. Government by Joshua Brick for the sum of $250. The lighthouse became operational on or about September 10, 1849. William W. Yarrington was the first appointed keeper and was paid an annual salary of $350. He was replaced, in a little over two weeks, by Francis Elberson. The last keeper was Linwood Spicer, who took the oath of office on December 12, 1905. When the lighthouse was automated Spicer was transferred to the Christiana Lighthouse in Wilmington Delaware. After the lighthouse was automated custodians were appointed to maintain the light. In exchange for maintaining the light, the custodians were allowed to live in the lighthouse rent free, and were paid the princely sum of $1.00 per year for their services. The last custodian was Gus Eulitz.

The lighthouse was blacked out during World War II. After the war the Coast Guard decided the lighthouse was no longer necessary, and in December, 1941 it was decommissioned. With no keepers or custodians to maintain the lighthouse, deterioration quickly set in.

By 1955, the Federal Government decided to sell the lighthouse and property as surplus and it was purchased by a Long Island construction company, but before the sale was consumated it was found that proper disposal procedures were not followed in that the lighthouse was not first offered to the State of New Jersey. The state was interested in the property not because of the lighthouse but because the site was surrounded by the Heislerville Wildlife Refuge and would provide a place for boats to be launched.

Local residents became concerned with the condition of the lighthouse, and in February, 1971, the Maurice River Historical Society was founded with the goal of restoring the lighthouse. In July 1971, before negiotations with the state were complete, the lighthouse was set on fire. The lantern room, roof and most of the buildings interior were destroyed.

Over the years, through its own efforts and Federal Transportation Enhancement Act and New Jersey Historic Trust grants, a new lantern and roof have been put on the lighthouse. The bricks have been repointed and shutters and windows have been installed. Now that the building is weathertight, restoration efforts can begin on the interior of the lighthouse.

The lighthouse is open to the public on the 3rd Sunday of the month from April to October from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Maurice River Historical Society's Annual Open House is Saturday September 18 2010 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with craft vendors, music food and artists. The lighthouse will be open then.The lighthouse is also open the 1st Saturday in June from 12:00 noon to 6:00 p.m. for Bay Day.


Light Characteristics


Keepers


2010 NJLHS