June 1834,Congress appropriated $6,000 for construction of a lighthouse
at the north end of Long Beach Island . Work soon began on the 40-foot
tower, and Barnegat Lighthouse was put into commission in 1835. It's non-flashing,
fifth-class light was deemed inadequate by mariners of the day.
In 1855, Lt. George G. Meade, a government engineer, was assigned to design a new lighthouse. Meade, an 1835 West Point graduate, had recently designed Absecon Lighthouse, but he earned his place in history in the War between the States. Promoted to brigadier general, Meade defeated General Lee in the Battle of Gettysburg.
Encroaching seas threatened the original lighthouse so its light was installed atop a temporary wooden tower in June 1857 and the original lighthouse fell into the sea later that year.
Meade submitted his construction plans in 1855 and construction began in late 1856. The new tower would be four times as tall as the previous and cost about $40,000. It was built about 100 feet south of the original because erosion in the inlet remained a problem.
The current lighthouse is really two towers in one. The exterior conical tower covers a cylindrical tower on the inside.
Barnegat Light, the second tallest lighthouse in the United States, was commissioned January 1, 1859. The tower light was 165 feet above sea level. It remained a first-class navigational light until August 1927, when the "Barnegat Lightship" was anchored 8 miles off the coast. The tower's light was reduced over 80 per cent, but it was not extinguished until January 1944.
The lightship was removed in 1965, made obsolete by electronic navigation.
In 1988, the lighthouse was closed for repair; re-opening for visitors in 1991, Although its light no longer functions, the tower is flood-lit at night and continues to attract thousands of visitors every summer. Include you and your group in this number.
Visit the Borough of Barnegat Light Home Page.
See the Barnegat Light as it is today.
Visit the Barnegat Lighthouse Historical Association Museum.
Want more island history?
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