At the north end of the 18 miles that make up Long Beach Island, NJ is a First Order lighthouse named after Barnegat City and the symbol of shore conservation on NJ liscense plates.
“The lighthouse’s beacon remained a first-class navigational light until August 1927, when the Barnegat Lightship was anchored 8 miles (13 km or 15 km) off the coast. This prompted the automation and the replacement of the first-order lens with a gas blinker. As a result, the tower’s light was reduced by over 80 percent. The gas blinker was replaced several weeks later with a 250 watt electric bulb, though the gas apparatus can still be seen at the top of the tower.
The lens was sent to the Tompkinsville Lighthouse Depot on Staten Island, New York. However, the lighthouse’s beacon was not extinguished until January 1944, when it was decommissioned by the Coast Guard and given to the State of New Jersey. Four years later, in 1948, the local municipality Barnegat City renamed itself Barnegat Light. In 1954, the lens was returned to the borough of Barnegat Light and now is on exhibit in the Barnegat Light Historical Museum. The area around the lighthouse was declared a State park and dedicated in 1957. The lightship was removed in 1965, made obsolete by electronic navigation.
In 1988, the lighthouse was closed for repair. It re-opened to visitors in 1991. Although its high-intensity light no longer functions, the tower is flood-lit at night and a continuous lantern is lit from dusk to dawn. This lantern is visible out to the horizon on clear nights, but is not intended to be visible during inclement weather (though an active foghorn is still present at the opposite end of the inlet). The top of the lighthouse is accessible via its 217 steps and continues to attract thousands of visitors every summer.” wikipedia
Through considerable conservation efforts, Barnegat Lights stands today in the midst of the Barnegat Light State Park.
This conserve has much more than protective jetties and the stallwart light.
On the water side, there is a steel and concrete peer that serves as a walk way for viewing many fishing and Coast Gaurd boats.
On the inland side of the park, there is an extensive nature trail that highlights beach errosion issues and provides detailed write ups on the vegitation found as part of the near extinct beach forests.
I can’t remember what these are called, but they really stuck out on the shoal with the velvet red leaves.
Just outside the state run park is a thriving tourist and fishing community. Besides the beautiful day boat scallops, the bay has a wide variety of fish, including small black drum, kingfish, blowfish, porgies, sea bass, small fluke, weakfish, small stripers, herring, bluefish and even occasional triggerfish.
And Andy’s here offers all the delights of early morning fisherman’s fry-up breakfast, deep fried lunch, ice cream and all the chum you need.
But how did Ole Barney come to be?
According to The State Park and Wikipedia “In 1855, Lt. George G. Meade, a government engineer and later a Union leader in the American Civil War, was assigned to design a new lighthouse. He was chosen largely because of his recent design of the Absecon Lighthouse. Meade completed the construction plans in 1855 and work began in late 1856.
This photo has also been entered into the National Geographic contest.
Due to continuing erosion at the time of construction, the new lighthouse was located approximately 100 feet south of the original structure — the site of which is now submerged. During construction, in June 1857, the light in the original structure was relocated to a temporary wooden tower located nearby. This was prompted by the encroaching seas which threatened the original lighthouse and ultimately caused the tower to collapse into the water later that year. It is due to the rough waters of the area that several jetties have been built throughout the history of both lighthouses.
Barnegat Light is open to the public and many of the island’s active senior citizens chug up the 217 steps to the top for their DAILY cardio work out. Well, if ol’ Mildred could do it it so could I! So I climbed the labrinyth of saftey yellow steps…
I was so happy to see that there were window insets so that I could rest…umm…I mean stop and take pictures.
And crafty ole Mildred left her water bottle here…hmmm I wonder if she would noticed if I took a sip?
I knew I was nearing the top when my rest areas were replaced with the round porthole style windows.
With a huff and a puff, I spied the open red door to the walkway…
And the view was worth it!
I did think of all of you as I stood at the top of ol’ Barney and looked out over LBI.
So there you have it…Barnegat Light from Top to Bottom.
Oh look, there is Mildred waiving out of the window…good chuggin’ old gal!
I guess my pride in LBI and Barney is showing.