The Supawna Meadows National Wildlife Refuge recently reported that they had uncovered the remains of the foundation of the Finns Point Front Range Lighthouse that once stood at the entrance to the Delaware River in Delaware Bay near Pennsville, New Jersey. Built in 1877, the Finns Point Front Range Lighthouse looked like a normal house, but the beacon sent forth its beam of light from a square lantern window in a square tower at the top of the structure. The Finns Point Front Range Lighthouse once worked in union with the 115-foot tall Finns Point Rear Range Lighthouse that still stands today.
By the late 1930s the structure was often in water at high tide, and it was decided to abandon the structure in favor of an automated light on a skeleton tower, which was officially established on June 9, 1938.
On August 4, 1939 the lighthouse property was turned over the U. S. Department of Agriculture, Wildlife Service, and the original wooden lighthouse structure was demolished. During World War II the light on top of the skeleton tower that now served as the Finns Point Front Range Light was discontinued, but it was relighted at the conclusion of the war. However, by the 1950s, because of changes in the shipping channel on March 22, 1950, the skeleton tower was discontinued and removed.
Not to discredit the team of biologists from the Fish and Wildlife Service on their recent discovery of the ruins of the original Finns Point Front Range Lighthouse, this is not the first time that the ruins were discovered. Back in the 1990s or before, noted lighthouse historians Jim Gowdy and Kim Ruth visited the overgrown ruins and photographed them; one of those photos appeared in their book Guiding Lights of the Delaware River and Bay. Obviously, since then, the ruins have deteriorated even further and had become more overgrown.
Perhaps some of the old bricks from the foundation of the Finns Point Front Range Lighthouse should be removed from the site and sold to raise money for lighthouse preservation projects.
This story appeared in the
Mar/Apr 2016 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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