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After attending the grand re-opening ceremony at the Sandy Hook Lighthouse (see that post here,) I stopped at the Twin Lights State Historic Site on my way back to the mainland.
At 200 feet above sea level on a steep bluff, the Twin Lights of Highlands have watched over the harbor entrance since 1828.
Officially named Navesink Lightstation, it was the first in the USA to use Fresnel lenses. The Fresnel lens, through its beehive design, magnifies the light from a small bulb so that it can be seen for miles. The Navesink lights had a range of 22 miles.
In 1862, the lighthouse was rebuilt, replacing the original structures and is still standing today. Two different shaped light towers are linked by the keepers quarters in the middle. One beacon was steady while the other pulsed, providing a distinctive navigational aid.
In 1899, Guglielmo Marconi demonstrated his wireless telegraph from the light station by transmitting reports on the America’s Cup Race off Sandy Hook. The Twin Lights became the nation’s first commercial wireless telegraph station.
Technological advances reduced the need for lighthouses and in 1949, the Twin Lights were turned off after 121 years in operation. The State of New Jersey acquired the property and designated it a State Historic Site in 1962.
I browsed the exhibits in the museum housed in the keeper’s quarters and then climbed the North Tower for some pretty fantastic views. Visitors are allowed out on the caged-in balcony.
Location: 2 Lighthouse Road, Highlands, NJ 07732
Designation: State Historic Site, NRHP
Date designated or established: 1962
Date of my visit: 9/30/2018
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