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Barnegat Lighthouse Dawn
Photograph - Digital Photograph
There is something haunting and romantic and comforting about the beam of a lighthouse. So I left my motel before dawn to take some nighttime pictures of Barnegat Lighthouse. I got to the breakwater jetty (which is just out of view on the right side of the photo) and noticed that it was wet. I watched and watched and watched but no waves were breaking and washing over the jetty. Cautiously edging out onto the jetty I kept watching and listening, but no high waves breaking. I got to the perfect spot, set up my tripod and got ready for some pictures when I hear a much louder sea sound behind me. I have just enough time to hoist my camera and tripod up into the air to keep them dry while the rest of me got soaked. Which is how I ended up taking this photo from the sandy area behind the breakwater!
The development of the original lighthouse began in June 1834 with the appropriation of $6,000 from Congress. The 40-foot-tall (12 m) lighthouse was commissioned the next year, though mariners at the time considered the building's non-flashing, fifth-class light to be inadequate. Because of the strong currents in the inlet, the lighthouse was built 900 feet (270 m) away from the water; but within ten years only 450 feet (140 m) separated the tower from the water. In 1855, Lt. George G. Meade was assigned to design a new lighthouse. He was chosen largely because of his recent design of Absecon Light. Meade completed the construction plans in 1855 and work began in late 1856. Because of continuing erosion during its construction, the new lighthouse was located about 100 feet (30 m) south of the original structure, the site of which is now submerged. During construction, in June 1857, the light in the original structure was relocated to a temporary wooden tower located nearby. This was prompted by the encroaching seas which threatened the original lighthouse and ultimately caused the tower to collapse into the water later that year. Because of the rough waters of the area, several jetties have been built throughout the history of both lighthouses. Barnegat Light was commissioned on January 1, 1859. The tower light was 172 feet (52 m) above sea level and the lighthouse itself was 163 feet (50 m) tall, four times taller than the original. The new light was a first-order flashing Fresnel lens, which stood about 12 feet (3.7 m) tall. The total cost of the project was about $40,000, with the lens alone costing $15,000. The current lighthouse is really two towers in one: the exterior conical tower covers a cylindrical tower on the inside. The structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places as Barnegat Lighthousein 1971. In 1988, the tower was closed for construction of the new south jetty, then reopened to visitors in 1991 with a new walkway on top of the jetty. The top of the lighthouse is accessible via its 217 steps and continues to attract in excess of half a million visitors year round.
In 2008, the Friends of Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, a local non profit organization, raised funds to reactivate the lighthouse. A sum of $35,000 was raised, with $15,000 contributed by the Barnegat Light Borough Fraternal Order of Police Local Lodge No. 5. This supported the acquisition of a new $15,000 VRB-25 light system, as well as the replacement of aging windows. Funding was raised entirely at the local level. In October 2008, the VRB-25 system was installed. While physically smaller than the original light, the system has become a standard for US Lighthouses, with more than 100 installed. On January 1, 2009, at 5:00 pm, the 150th anniversary of its opening, Barnegat Lighthouse activated its beacon for the first time since before World War II . The light now operates daily from dusk until dawn.
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October 21st, 2013
Viewed 1,865 Times - Last Visitor from Durham, NC on 12/18/2014 at 10:17 PM
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