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The Barnegat Lighthouse Station was established in 1835 with a poorly constructed 50 foot tower. This original tower fell into the inlet in 1856 when struck by water from a storm surge. The existing tower was built in 1857. This 172 foot tall brick tower was designed by U.S. Army Engineer Lt. George Gordon Meade. Meade went on to become a Major General and commander of the U.S. Army Of The Potomac from the Battle of Gettysburg until the end of the Civil War. Meade also lent his engineering skills to the Cape May and Absecon Lighthouses, both of which are of similar design. The Barnegat Lighthouse Tower is the second tallest brick lighthouse in the United States, Cape Hatteras being the tallest at 208 feet. The new tower, now considered a coastal aid received a first order, rotating Fresnel Lens and was visible for 20 nautical miles and up to 30 NM from taller ship's crow's nests. Threatened by erosion, the Fresnel Lens was removed for its safety in1927 and eventually replaced by an electric 250 watt bulb that reduced the visibility to only 8 nautical miles. The Barnegat Tower had again become a harbor light and the Barnegat Lightship assumed the coastal lighting duties from its off shore station. In 1944, the Barnegat Lighthouse, also known as "Old Barney", "Jewel of the Night" and the "Grand Old Champion of the Tides", was retired by the U.S. Lighthouse Service.
The Barnegat Lighthouse has been owned since 1926 by the State Of New Jersey which was forced to close the tower for safety in 1988 when part of the gallery railing fell. Following an extensive $666,000. restoration the tower was reopened to the public in 1991. The Barnegat Lighthouse State Park now contains a visitor's center with public restrooms and the tower is open for climbing daily from 10:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. between Memorial Day and Labor Day and on weekends from May through October. Recently relit as a private aid to navigation, the familiar red over white tower continues to aid mariners in navigating the Barnegat Inlet from the Atlantic Ocean. On the 150th anniversary of Barnegat first being lit, the Friends of Barnegat Lighthouse State Park activated the new optic on January 1st, 2009. The Vega VRB-25 optic emits a pencil thin beam that appears to be of low intensity when viewed off angle but is visible for 22 nautical miles. The Barnegat Lighthouse is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and was honored by the State of New Jersey by being depicted on the State's lighthouse vehicle license plates.
March 2009 Issue, Old Barney Relit By Timothy Harrison. "As the sun sets, turning a cold afternoon into an even colder evening, the famouse Barnegat Lighthouse is relit restoring a sense of pride and history to the people of New Jersey and the world". Please go to the Lighthouse Digest Magazine Archives for the full article. Lighthouse Digest magazine not only keeps the history of our lighthouses alive both in print and on line, but it is the best single source to keep current on all aspects of lighthouse preservation, news and events
The Barnegat Lighthouse is located at the northern tip of Long Beach Island and easily accesible by road.
Directions:From the New Jersey Garden State Parkway, take exit 63 and turn east on State Route 72. Continue through Manahawkin and over the causeway onto Long Beach Island. Turn left onto Long Beach Boulevard and continue north 8.3 miles to a left turn onto Broadway in the hamlet of Barnegat Light. Continue to the end and the park entrance is on your right.
Visit The Division of Parks and Forestry for information on Barnegat Lighthouse State Park hours and facilities.
Barnegat Light Historical Society Museum located in the former Barnegat Light Elementary School. Please visit their website for hours and information.
For more photographs and history of the Barnegat Lighthouse, you can visit the:
For other area attractions and info, you can visit the:
Visit LBInet for business listings, municipal and non-profit agency listings on Long Beach Island including the Borough of Barnegat Light, home of "Old Barney"