Atlantic City, New Jersey
Everyone has heard of Atlantic City, the casinos and boardwalk, but not nearly as many know that the third tallest lighthouse in the U.S., standing a monumental height of 171 feet, is located here as well. I walked up every one of those 228 stairs to the room below the lantern. I had prayed all the way up the second half for someone else's legs. I carry too much camera gear. I guess though, that the photo opportunities are well worth the extra effort. Okay, there are a few obvious shots that couldn't have happened from the room below the lantern, but don't get the idea it's a part of the tour.
When I first pulled up next to it, I thought it was closed with the place looking sort of neglected and fenced off from the world. Then as I walked around for better perspectives, I realized that the place was open. I met a man walking out who said he was the keeper and I should ask them inside to take me up to the top to see the lens. Glad that I did for I met Ray and Rich, who also worked at the lighthouse. Ray was most knowledgeable and we talked a bit about different lights we had seen. So the place is actually being restored and brought back to it's original glory.
Completed in 1857 by George Meade, it was first lit on January 15th by the keeper, a Daniel Skull. Imagine that climb up and down twice a day, hauling oil for the lamps. $400-600 per year. No thanks. Anyway, this is the original tower and the original lens. It has seen a number of color patterns, the photos here were taken on June 10, 2001. By the 1870's, erosion began threatening the tower's foundation and the city tried to do something. One proposal was to move it back, like Cape Hatteras was, but the city opted to build a breakwater instead. By 1880, two years after it's completion, the ocean had receded back to where it began.
The Coast Guard discontinued the light in 1933 and put an automated light on the pier. The light was given to the city in 1948, but it had already begun to deteriorate. The keeper's house was gone as were a few other buildings. In 1963 a citizens committee restored the lighthouse, but it subsequently fell to disrepair again. A current effort by a local association had it relit in 1997 and now gives tours.
One other trivia detail, Absecon is the altered name the government gave the place after the local Indian tribe called Absegame.
Here's how I
AB1 AB2 AB3 AB4 AB5 AB6 AB7
LIGHTHOUSE HOME PAGE