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

Sandy Hook Light

 
 
Sandy Hook Light image. Click for full size.
By Rc, circa 2007
1. Sandy Hook Light
Inscription. Upper Marker:
This light was completed in 1764 and is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse in the United States. New York merchants petitioned their assembly to raise money for the light by lotteries and tonnage taxes on ships entering New York. In 1739 the Federal Government formed the U.S. Lighthouse Service, later incorporated into the U.S. Coast Guard to operate this light and all other aids to navigation in U.S. Waters. Sandy Hook Light is 29 feet in diameter at the base and is 85 feet above the ground and can be seen for 19 miles. Sandy Hook Light is a reminder of our rich maritime history and is still and important aid to navigation at the entrance to New York Harbor.

Lower Marker:
Sandy Hook Light
has been designated a
Registered National
Historic Landmark


Under the provisions of the
Historic Sites Act of August 21, 1935
this site possesses exceptional value
in commemorating or illustrating
the history of the United States

U.S. Department of the Interior
National Park Service
1964

 
Erected 1976 by U.S. Coast Guard.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the National Historic Landmarks marker series.
 
Location.
National Historic Landmark (Lower Marker) image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, September 20, 2009
2. National Historic Landmark (Lower Marker)
40° 27.7′ N, 74° 0.125′ W. Marker is in Fort Hancock State Park, New Jersey, in Monmouth County. Marker is at the intersection of Hudson Drive and Mercer Road, on the left when traveling north on Hudson Drive. Touch for map. Marker is located on the side of the Sandy Hook Light (Lighthouse) on Fort Hancock State Park, NJ. Nearest city is Atlantic Highlands, NJ. Marker is at or near this postal address: Number 1 Lighthouse Road, Highlands NJ 07732, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Keeping the Light ( a few steps from this marker); Lights Out! ( within shouting distance of this marker); Fire House Number 2 ( within shouting distance of this marker); Mortar Battery ( within shouting distance of this marker); Fill’er Up! ( about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Post Exchange ( about 300 feet away); Lighting the Way ( about 300 feet away); Chow Time! ( about 400 feet away).
 
Additional comments.
1. Oldest standing light tower in the U.S.
The tall, white lighthouse at Sandy Hook is the oldest standing light tower in the United States. Since 1764, the lighthouse's unfailing beam has befriended innumerable vessels as they have passed in or out of New York's great harbor. Because of the risks to shipping
Markers at Sandy Hook Lighthouse image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, September 20, 2009
3. Markers at Sandy Hook Lighthouse
Two markers are found on the side of the Sandy Hook Lighthouse.
in the treacherous waters around Sandy Hook, numerous merchants in New York City pressed the colony's government for the erection of a lighthouse on the desolate point. New York's assembly answered their pleas with an act in 1761 that authorized the holding of a lottery to raise funds for the construction of a lighthouse. This lottery raised £62,600, but in 1763 another one had to be held to raise additional money. The builders finished the structure in 1764 and on June 11 its lamps were lit for the first time. New York City collected a tonnage tax of twenty two pence per ton in the following years in order to help pay for the light's maintenance.

The original tower of the Sandy Hook Light still stands. It is octagonal, with massive masonry walls that are seven feet thick at the base. The tower rises eighty-five feet above the ground and eighty-eight feet above the water. It is interesting to note that, when built, the lighthouse stood about five hundred feet from the northern end of Sandy Hook, now, due to growth caused by littoral drift, it is almost one and half miles inland from the tip. Sandy Hook Lighthouse is part of the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area, part of the National Parks of New York Harbor. And the light is listed as a National Landmark, National Maritime Landmark and on the National Registry of Historic Places. The Sandy Hook Lighthouse
Sandy Hook Light (Fort Hancock Recreational Area, NJ) image. Click for full size.
By Rc
4. Sandy Hook Light (Fort Hancock Recreational Area, NJ)
Marker is on the base of the lighthouse. Tours are usually given during the Summer on weekends.
was last restored in Spring 2000 and continues to shine its light for New York Harbor.
    — Submitted February 2, 2008, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.

 
Additional keywords. Lighthouse
 
Categories. Colonial EraIndustry & CommerceLandmarksMilitaryNotable BuildingsWaterways & Vessels
 
Brickwork in lighthouse portal image. Click for full size.
By Rc, 2007
5. Brickwork in lighthouse portal
The thickness of the lighthouse decreases towards the top. It is said that the British were unable to destroy it with their artillery because, due to the thickness of the walls and the shape of the exterior, the cannon balls were deflected away when they struck the exterior.
Rainspout on roof of structure that protects the light image. Click for full size.
By Rc, 2007
6. Rainspout on roof of structure that protects the light
Current lamp and movement inside the light image. Click for full size.
By Rc, 2007
7. Current lamp and movement inside the light
The Sandy Hook Light is a stationary light (i.e. the light doesn't rotate). The workings currently in use are of modern design and automated. If the primary lamp burns out, the motor at the base of the photo rotates the secondary bulb into place. The lumens put out by the bulbs used today are far less than the bulbs used before radar, GPS, and other navigational aids came into play. The third-order fresnel lens has been damaged (see chips in upper left of photo and lower right hand sides) simply by visitors touching it which leaves oil from the skin on the surface. Once the oil seeps into the crystal structure, temperature variations eventually cause the damage.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on February 2, 2008, by R. C. of Shrewsbury, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,110 times since then and 29 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on February 2, 2008, by R. C. of Shrewsbury, New Jersey.   2, 3. submitted on September 20, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   4, 5. submitted on February 2, 2008, by R. C. of Shrewsbury, New Jersey.   6. submitted on February 4, 2008, by R. C. of Shrewsbury, New Jersey.   7. submitted on February 2, 2008, by R. C. of Shrewsbury, New Jersey. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.
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