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 consummated 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
negotiations 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 re-pointed and
shutters and windows have been installed. Now that the
building is weathertight, restoration efforts can begin
on the interior of the lighthouse.
In 2017, restoration work was fully completed,
both inside and out. See pictures to your left.