New Jersey’s Brigantine Lighthouse that was damaged in Hurricane Sandy has started to get some repairs thanks to local contractors who are donating their time and materials.
Although, in the true sense of the word it was never a “real” lighthouse, it is a historical and tourist symbol to the community where it stands and is fully worthy of serious mention in the world of lighthouses.
Built in the 1920s to promote the plans by the Island Development Corporation for a twin resort to Atlantic City, the sales office inside the lighthouse closed with the stock market crash of 1929. In the 1930s the city took it over and it became the police station, perhaps the only lighthouse in America to house a police station. In those days, with only a few officers and no two-way radios, the light in the tower would be turned on to alert the officer on patrol that a call had come in. The officer would then return to the lighthouse to get the message and would respond to the call. Eventually the police department outgrew the lighthouse, but the steel door of the police station’s holding cell is still around, now on display at the nearby historical society museum.
In 1995 a volunteer effort helped restore the lighthouse and the light in the tower remained operational through the 1990s. However, in 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused damage to the lighthouse. Because of many more pressing issues that had to be dealt with from the ravages of the Super Storm, the lighthouse was not on the priority list of things that needed to be taken care of. So a volunteer group of various contractors have stepped into do the work, however, it is being done piecemeal, as they have time to do the work.
The deck around the lantern room had deteriorated, allowing water to seep in, not to mention the foot of water that had flooded the lighthouse during the storm. The damage caused by the water had rotted lots of the wood.
Part of this year’s restoration project included the 1923 lens that was made in France. The pitted and corroded lens, now restored, was loaned to the Historical Society and is now on display in their museum.
This story appeared in the
Nov/Dec 2013 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.
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