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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Atlantic City in Atlantic County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Assistant Keepers’ Dwelling

Absecon Lighthouse

 
 
Assistant Keepers’ Dwelling Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 19, 2011
1. Assistant Keepers’ Dwelling Marker
Inscription. When Absecon Lighthouse was first lit in 1857, a principal keeper and assistant keeper lived on site with their families. The dwelling for an assistant keeper was built during the original Lighthouse construction. Interior alterations in 1887 converted the building to accommodate two assistant keepers and their families. Further exterior alterations were completed in 1893, giving the two families more space and privacy. The assistant keepers’ dwelling was demolished in the 1940s, along with the principal keeper’s dwelling.

[ Sidebar: ]
The assistant keepers are crowded in a building about 25 feet square, so planned that it is impossible to have any privacy. From this cause, during the heat of summer, the keepers are subject to great inconvenience and discomfort. Another building should be erected at this station so that the keepers can live with their families in at least as much comfort as can be had by skilled workmen in cities.

A keeper’s dwelling sufficient for their accommodation can be erected for $4,000, and it is recommended that an appropriation of this amount be made for that purpose.
The Annual Report of the Lighthouse Board, 1891

[ Reverse Side ]
Chronology

1854

After a decade of prompting from Jonathan Pitney, the “father of Atlantic City,”
Reverse Side of Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 19, 2011
2. Reverse Side of Marker
the U.S. Congress appropriated $35,000 to build a lighthouse on Absecon Island.

December 5, 1854
The Camden and Atlantic Land Co. transferred the land for the lighthouse to the U.S. government for the sum of $520.

1855
Construction began under the direction of Major Hartman Bache from the Corps of Topographical Engineers of the Army. Bache was replaced by Lieutenant George Gordon Meade, who later commanded the Union Army at the Battle of Gettysburg.

1856
An additional $17,436.62 was appropriated to finish the project. The final cost was $52,436.62.

January 15, 1857
Absecon Lighthouse was first lit on this date. Its first-order Fresnel lens was manufactured by the Parisian firm of Sautter & Cie and was illuminated by Funck’s mineral oil lamps. The beam could be seen nearly 20 miles out at sea.

1876
At the time it was built, Absecon Lighthouse was 1200 feet from the ocean. Beach erosion in the years that followed brought the water onto the edges of the Lighthouse grounds. The construction of jetties in the 1870s successfully reversed this process, eventually leaving the Lighthouse in about the same relationship to the water as it was originally.

1910
The first incandescent oil vapor lamps were used in the Lighthouse.

July 1, 1925
Electricity was first used for the
Assistant Keepers’ Dwelling Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 19, 2011
3. Assistant Keepers’ Dwelling Marker
beacon.

July 11, 1933
Absecon Lighthouse was decommissioned and the light was extinguished.

1954
The lantern was lit for a brief period for Atlantic City’s centennial celebration.

1962
A small visitors’ center was constructed at the base of the tower.

December 31, 1963
Governor Richard Hughes relit the lens for the first time in 25 years for New Jersey’s Tercentenary year.

September 11, 1970
Absecon Lighthouse was placed on New Jersey’s Register of Historic Places.

January 25, 1971
Absecon Lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

1988
The Inlet Public/Private Association (IPPA) was formed, adopting Absecon Lighthouse as its logo to signify the rebirth of the Inlet section of Atlantic City.

1994
IPPA formally adopted Absecon Lighthouse and funded a Historic Structure Report (HSR), leading to the tower’s ultimate restoration.

1995
Sara Cureton was hired as Executive Director for the Lighthouse, filling the position of Lightkeeper for the first time since 1933.

1997
Restoration of the tower began in May. Reconstruction of the Keeper’s Dwelling began shortly thereafter.

1999
IPPA opened the historic tower to visitors while construction continued on the Keeper’s Dwelling.

2001
The
Chronology Side of the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 19, 2011
4. Chronology Side of the Marker
Keeper’s Dwelling was completed and opened to the public.
 
Location. 39° 21.982′ N, 74° 24.843′ W. Marker is in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in Atlantic County. Marker is on S Vermont Avenue, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is located next to the Absecon Lighthouse. Marker is in this post office area: Atlantic City NJ 08401, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Life-Saving Station (a few steps from this marker); Lighthouse History (a few steps from this marker); Absecon Lighthouse (a few steps from this marker); 44th National Encampment Grand Army of the Republic (within shouting distance of this marker); Keeper’s Dwelling (within shouting distance of this marker); The Whaling Bark Stafford (within shouting distance of this marker); Edna Patricia Hall (approx. 0.2 miles away); They Called It “KY & The Curb” (approx. one mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Atlantic City.
 
More about this marker. Three pictures of the Absecon Lighthouse appear on the marker. One in the center of the marker has a caption of “This photograph, taken before 1892, shows both of the original dwellings on the site.” A second photo at the upper right, from the Collection of Elinor Veit,
Marker at the Absecon Lighthouse in Atlantic City image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 19, 2011
5. Marker at the Absecon Lighthouse in Atlantic City
includes the caption “In 1897 the keeper’s dwelling had not yet been enlarged, but the assistant keepers’ dwelling had been expanded to accommodate two families.” The third picture, located at the lower right of the marker and from the Collection of the Atlantic County Historical Society, has the caption “This view of the assistant keepers’ dwelling was taken after 1897. Note that the daymark has been changed on the tower.”
 
Also see . . .  Historic Absecon Lighthouse website. (Submitted on August 20, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
 
Categories. Notable Buildings
 
Absecon Lighthouse image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 19, 2011
6. Absecon Lighthouse
The Assistant Keepers’ Dwelling marker can be seen here at the base of the Lighthouse. At 171 feet, the Absecon Lighthouse is the third tallest lighthouse in the United States and the tallest in New Jersey.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 20, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 544 times since then and 36 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on August 20, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.
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