Officials estimated that up to 7,000 people visited Barnegat Lighthouse State Park on October 11, 2008, for the 150th Anniversary of the one of America's best-loved and tallest beacons.
The celebration was grand by lighthouse standards. There were concerts, a fly over by the Coast Guard, numerous exhibits and lectures.
The 150th birthday bash was a prelude to when the lighthouse, known more affectionately as Old Barney, will again be relit on January 1, 2009 exactly 150 years to the day when it was first lit on January 1, 1859.
When the lighthouse was first lit in 1859 hundreds of people, who braved the cold, came by horse and buggy and sat in boats to marvel as the Fresnel lens was lit for the first time sending its beam of light 20 miles out over the sea. However, in 1927 the Fresnel lens was removed from the tower. It is now on display at the Barnegat Light Historical Society Museum.
Now, after being dark for a number of years, the wonderful old tower will again have a beacon to shine from its lantern room. The new modern Vega light cannot be compared to the Fresnel lens that once lit the tower and its beam will not be as massive as was shown from the Fresnel lens. However, what's important to history is that Old Barney will once again be a complete monument to the people of the United States Lighthouse Service who helped create the best system of aids to navigation the world has ever known. The people who were involved in making this a reality are to be commended.
As a point of interest, this past July, Arizona's Lake Havasu Lighthouse Club dedicated its 14th lighthouse, a replica of Barnegat Lighthouse, on Lake Havasu. The 18-foot tall replica sits on a spit of land about two miles north of Cattail Cove State Park. Although it is also lighted, its small beam only shines three miles, compared to the 15 mile beam that the new light will shine from the real Barnegat Lighthouse that takes an amazing 217-steps to reach.
This story appeared in the
December 2008 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
All contents copyright © 1995-2024 by Lighthouse Digest®, Inc. No story, photograph, or any other item on this website may be reprinted or reproduced without the express permission of Lighthouse Digest. For contact information, click here.