Barnegat Light

Long Beach Island, New Jersey | C.1834

Photo Credit: Kevin Plant

Barnegat Lighthouse or Barnegat Light, colloquially known as “Old Barney”, is a historic lighthouse located in Barnegat Lighthouse State Park on the northern tip of Long Beach Island, New Jersey, on the south side of Barnegat Inlet.

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.

In 1855, Lt. George G. Meade, an Army engineer was assigned to design the lighthouse. He completed the construction plans in 1855 and work began in late 1856.

The lighthouse’s beacon remained a first-class navigational light until August 1927 when the Barnegat Lightship was anchored 8 nautical miles off the coast. This prompted the automation and replacement of the first-order lens with a gas blinker which was again replaced several weeks later with a 250-watt electric bulb, though the gas apparatus can still be seen at the top of the tower.

The light was deactivated as a Coast Guard lookout tower in January 1944 and given to the State of New Jersey. Four years later, the local municipality, Barnegat City, renamed itself Barnegat Light. In 1954, the lens was returned to the borough of Barnegat Light and is now on exhibit in the Barnegat Light Museum. The area around the lighthouse was declared a state park in 1957.

The structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places as Barnegat Lighthouse in 1971 and 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.

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