Sandy Hook West Beacon - Fort Hancock, NJ

Picture circa 1898-1901


The Sandy hook West Beacon was established about 1817. It was rebuilt in 1842 and was a white tower 30-35 feet high. It was equipped with a 6th order lens. It was located at 40 27' 48" by 74 00' 27". It marked the outer edge of a sand bar, and was used, when sailing just clear of the bar, to mark the turning point around the southwest spit into the main shipping channel. It fought a constant battle with erosion and it was relocated at least twice. In 1889, it was relocated about 250 feet east and 440 south feet south of its old site, and from then on it was referred to as the South Beacon.

In 1917, the lighthouse found itself in the direct line of fire of one of Fort Hancock's new gun batteries. The cast-iron tower was disassembled and placed in storage. It was replaced a 35 foot tall skeleton tower. The cast-iron tower was reassembled in 1921 at a different site along the Hudson River known as Jeffries Hook. The construction of the George Washington Bridge caused the lighthouse to again be moved because one of the bridge piers needed to be placed where the lighthouse was. The bridge dwarfed the little lighthouse. Hildegarde Swift wrote the famous children's book, The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge about this event.

The lighthouse was discontinued in 1947. Today, it the centerpiece of a small New York City park.

Light Characteristics


2005 NJLHS