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Barnegat Light in Ocean County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Vigilant Guardian

Aids to Navigation

 

—Maritime History —

 
Vigilant Guardian Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 19, 2010
1. Vigilant Guardian Marker
This marker is part of the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail Route.
Inscription. After a long journey across the Atlantic, mariners bound for New York Harbor welcomed the sight of the Barnegat Lighthouse lighting the way. It was constructed in 1834 as a navigational aid to guard Barnegat Inlet. Twenty years later, it was reported to be in poor condition. By 1856 shore erosion caused the lighthouse and keepers cottage to topple into the water.

Construction of a replacement lighthouse began almost immediately and was operational by January 1, 1859. However, its life expectancy was also considered limited because of the constant threat of erosion. Project engineer George G. Meade, however, was determined that it would last.

In 1927 the light was put out of service and replaced by the “Lightship Barnegat” stationed eight miles offshore. After nearly a century of enduring the winds and ravages of the sea, the lighthouse and surrounding 32 acres were designated a State Park in 1951.

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Resistance is Futile

The name Barnegat evolved from a Dutch word Barendegat - meaning “place of the breakers.” The name was applied to the treacherous shoals that separate Long Beach Island and Island Beach to the north. The frequently perilous conditions around these shoals, and the loss of the former tower in 1856, prompted engineers to construct a more substantial
Marker in Barnegat Lighthouse State Park image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 19, 2010
2. Marker in Barnegat Lighthouse State Park
tower a quarter of a mile from the inlet in a more protected location.
 
Erected by State of New Jersey Division of Parks & Forestry and National Park System.
 
Location. 39° 45.837′ N, 74° 6.351′ W. Marker is in Barnegat Light, New Jersey, in Ocean County. Marker can be reached from Broadway, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is located in the Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. Marker is in this post office area: Barnegat Light NJ 08006, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. U.S. Merchant Marine WW II Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade (within shouting distance of this marker); Barnegat Lighthouse (within shouting distance of this marker); Old Salty Survivors (within shouting distance of this marker); Maritime Forest Trail (within shouting distance of this marker); Maritime Sentinels (within shouting distance of this marker); Massacre at Long Beach (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); How Much Water Flows Through Barnegat Inlet (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Barnegat Light.
 
More about this marker. Three photographs appear at the bottom of the marker. On the left is an aerial
Marker at Barnegat Light image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 19, 2010
3. Marker at Barnegat Light
The Vigilant Guardian marker is located near the Barnegat Lighthouse, seen in the background.
picture of the area and has a caption of “Constantly moving sandbars and swift currents moving through Barnegat inlet add to the treacherous conditions that keep mariners on the alert. (Photograph provided by Studio 9 Photo Center, Waretown, NJ). Next to this is an old photo of the lighthouse with the caption “The lighthouse keeper’s house, built in 1889, housed three families separately. The lighthouse keepers alternated work in 8-hour shifts. Erosion of the inlet forced the U.S. Lighthouse Service to abandon it in the spring of 1920. Not long afterwards, the surging seas swept over it. (Photograph courtesy of NJ Division of Parks & Forestry.) Finally, on the right is a picture from Harper’s Weekly of fishing boats in the water with the Barnegat Lighthouse in the background. It has a caption of “Fishing off Barnegat Inlet often proves to be more of a challenge than expected.”
 
Also see . . .
1. Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. New Jersey Division of Parks & Forestry website. (Submitted on August 20, 2010, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

2. A History of the Barnegat Lighthouse. Long Beach Island, NJ website. (Submitted on August 20, 2010, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

3. New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail Route. National Park Service website. (Submitted on August 20, 2010, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Vigilant Guardian Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 19, 2010
4. Vigilant Guardian Marker
 
 
Categories. Man-Made FeaturesWaterways & Vessels
 
Barnegat Lighthouse image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 19, 2010
5. Barnegat Lighthouse
Barnegat Lighthouse State Park image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 19, 2010
6. Barnegat Lighthouse State Park
Marker is located in the Barnegat Lighthouse State Park.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 20, 2010, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 626 times since then and 14 times this year. Last updated on August 20, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on August 20, 2010, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.
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