2021 Lighthouse Challenge: Sea Girt

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2021 Lighthouse Challenge

Sea Girt Lighthouse was a stop for us on Day 2 during the Lighthouse Challenge of New Jersey. Every October the NJ Lighthouse Society runs the challenge in order to raise funds for the state’s historic lighthouses and maritime sites. In 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the event was mostly virtual. In 2021, it was back on. My friend and I decided to spend the full weekend, stopping at every site on the list and collecting the souvenir piece. In previous years, I’d only finished sections of the course.


Patty and I had lived through some tough times in 2021 and were ready for the brief respite afforded by Lighthouse Challenge weekend. I would also be reporting on our odyssey for my week-long takeover of the Jersey Collective. After visiting the Squan Beach Life Saving Station, we headed to Sea Girt. We talked to a docent about the role Sea Girt played in rescue of passengers from the sinking ship Morro.


The Lighthouse Board commissioned Sea Girt in 1888 to light the dark 40-mile stretch of coast between Barnegat and Navesink. Completed in 1896, it was the last lighthouse with an integrated keeper’s residence to be built on the East Coast.


In 1921, Sea Girt became the first lighthouse to be equipped with a radio beacon, furthering its usefulness as a navigational aid. They deactivated the light during WWII and the building was converted to a Coast Guard dormitory.


After the war, the federal government put the lighthouse up for sale. The Borough of Sea Girt purchased the property and used it for the town library and recreation center.


In 1981, the building was in need of repairs and the borough considered selling it. Concerned residents formed the Sea Girt Lighthouse Citizens Committee, an independent non-profit dedicated to restoring and maintaining the lighthouse.

The committee restored the lighthouse through private fundraising. They lease it from the town and conduct tours on Sundays from Easter through Thanksgiving and open the lighthouse for special events like the annual Lighthouse Challenge.


Lighthouse Challenge posts

Location: 9 Ocean Ave, Sea Girt, NJ 08750
Designation: Museum
Date designated/established: 1981
Date of my visit: October 17, 2021


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