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Every October the NJ Lighthouse Society runs the Lighthouse Challenge of New Jersey in order to raise funds for the state’s historic lighthouses and maritime sites. This year, we purchased an incomplete commemorative deck of cards at our starting point and then tried to complete the deck by collecting cards at each of the participating locations. There were 13 sites included in the challenge this year and I got to 5 of them on the Saturday of the challenge.
For my first stop I visited the Absecon Lighthouse in Atlantic City. Absecon Inlet was called Graveyard Inlet due to all the shipwrecks that took place there. Jonathan Pitney, the ‘Father of Atlantic City’, pushed for federal funding for a lighthouse to illuminate the dangerous waters.
The beacon was first lit in 1857. In its heyday, the lighthouse was a popular tourist attraction and the keepers did double duty as tour guides.
The light was decommissioned in 1933 and went dark for decades. Today, it shines on Atlantic City every night but is no longer an active navigational aid. The tower and keeper’s house were restored in the late 1990s, though the house was destroyed by fire during the renovation and had to be completely reconstructed.
Absecon Light is a State Historic Site, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is managed by a non-profit organization.
The lighthouse is the tallest in New Jersey at 171 feet. It has 228 steps which I know because I climbed them. When I arrived at the top, huffing and puffing, a nice volunteer handed me a card for having made the journey.
Back down in the keeper’s house I perused the museum displays. I took some pictures outside. And then I hurried off to my next stop in the challenge.
Lighthouse Challenge and related posts:
- Sandy Hook Lighthouse
- Navesink Twin Lights (coming soon)
- Absecon Lighthouse
- Tuckerton Seaport (coming soon)
- Barnegat Lighthouse (coming soon)
- Barnegat Maritime Forest Trail (coming soon)
- Barnegat Museum (coming soon)
- Sea Girt Lighthouse (coming soon)
Location: 31 S Rhode Island Ave, Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Designation: State Historic Site, NRHP
Date designated or established: 9/11/1970 (NHRP)
Date of my visit: 10/20/2018