Historic Photos and Documents
New Jersey Lighthouse "Firsts" &
- 1764 Sandy Hook is lit on June 11, 1764
making it the oldest continuous operating
lighthouse in America
- 1823 The Sandy Hook Lightship becomes
the first outside lightship in the United
- 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 screw pile foundation.
- 1857 Absecon Lighthouse
was first lit.
- 1859 The present Barnegat
Lighthouse first lit.
- 1859 The present Cape May
Lighthouse was first lit.
- 1862 The current Navesink
Twin Lights were first lit.
- 1868 Sandy Hook East Beacon becomes
the first lighthouse in the country to be
equipped with a steam driven fog siren.
- 1874 Hereford Inlet Lighthouse is lit.
- 1877 Finns Point Front @ Rear Range
Lights first lit.
- 1877 Ship John Shoal Lighthouse
illuminated for the first time.
- 1880 Tinicum Island Front Range
- 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
- 1896 Sea Girt Lighthouse first lit.
- 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
- 1903 Compressed acetylene dissolved in
acetone was first used as fuel at the Sandy Hook
South Beacon and Jones Rock Beacon, Connecticut.
- 1913 Miah Maull Lighthouse completed.
- 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.
- 1964 Sandy Hook Light was
designated a National Historic Landmark.
- 1971 Absecon
Lighthouse was added to the National Register
of Historic Places.
- 2006 Navesink
Lighthouse was added to the National Register
of Historic Places.
- 2009 Barnegat
Lighthouse is relit.
- 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
- January 1, 1944 The
Coast Guard extinguished Barnegat Lighthouse for
- 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
- 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
- March 22, 1950 Finns Point Rear Range
- 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
- 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
- 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 1, 1847 The First
Cape May Lighthouse discontinued as untenable.
- May 1, 1851 The
Brandywine Shoal Lightship is transferred to
- 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
- 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
- May 11, 1874 First
Illuminated Hereford Inlet Lighthouse.
- May 18, 1826 Funds
appropriated for the construction of the First
- 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.
- 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
- July 1, 1925 Absecon
- July 7, 1884 Congress
appropriates $5,000 for construction of Ludlum
- 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
- August 3, 1983
contract awarded to K&K Painting of Baltimore
for the restoration of Finns Point Rear Range
- August 10, 1877 Ship
John Shoal Lighthouse illuminated for the first
- 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
- September 19, 1979
Maurice River Range Light Station officially
- 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
- 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
- October 28, 1850
Brandywine Shoal Lighthouse screwpile first
- October 28, 2006
Navesink Lighthouse was added to the National
- October 31, 1859
Present Cape May Lighthouse (the third) first
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
Spirit struck the Ambrose Light
Station tower. No injuries or pollution were
- November 15, 1876 The
Deepwater Point Front and Rear Range Lights are
- November 16, 1790 New
Jersey cedes Sandy Hook Lighthouse to the Federal
- November 21, 1923
Ludlum Beach Lighthouse heavily damaged in fire
when keeper's cat knocks over a unattended oil
- November 25, 1900 The
British schooner Goldseeker drifts across
Scotland Lightship #7's bow, but damage was
- November 25, 1905
Daniel Bailey assumed duties at Maurice River
Range Light Station taking over from Rufus T.
- 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
- December 26, 1880
Lightship #40, Five Fathom Bank damaged in
- 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