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Absecon Lighthouse

Definition: The Absecon Light is a coastal lighthouse located in the north end of Atlantic City, New Jersey overlooking Absecon Inlet. It is the tallest lighthouse in the state of New Jersey and is the third tallest masonry lighthouse in the United States.
The Absecon Light is a coastal lighthouse located in the north end of Atlantic City, New Jersey overlooking Absecon Inlet. It is the tallest lighthouse in the state of New Jersey and is the third tallest masonry lighthouse in the United States.
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History Records: 2
Paranormal Claims: 7
Evidence Records: 0
Stories: 0

1854:After a decade of prompting from Jonathan Pitney, considered by most to be the 'father' of Atlantic City, the U.S. Lighthouse Service requested and received a $35,000 appropriation from Congress for a lighthouse on Absecon Island.

1854- December 5: The Camden and Atlantic Land Co. transferred the land for a lighthouse to the U.S. government for the sum of $520.

1855:Construction began under the direction of Major Hartman Bache. Bache was replaced by Lieutenant George Meade, who would later command the Union Army at Gettysburg.

1856:An additional $17,436 was appropriated to finish the project by the Army Corps of Engineers under the direction of Lt. Col. William Reynolds. The final cost was $52,436.62.

1857-January 15: The first lighting occurred with a mineral oil (kerosene) flame focusing through a huge 36-plate, First-Order Fresnel lens made in Paris especially for Absecon Lighthouse. The white light shone 19.5 nautical miles out to sea.

1876:The Lighthouse was constructed on the high dune line of the island. The water rose to within 75 feet of the tower (the approximate current location of Pacific Avenue) due to beach erosion. Four wood and stone jetties were constructed near the base of the tower to build up the beach.

1880s:The jetties were finally covered by sand and the shoreline was restored to its previous configuration. Elsewhere in the City construction began on homes, shops and a modest elevated boardwalk.

1910-June 6: The first incandescent oil vapor (i.o.v.) lamps were used in the Lighthouse.

1925-July 1: Electricity was first used for the light.

1933-July 11: Absecon Lighthouse was decommissioned and the light was extinguished.

1954:The lantern was lit for a brief period for Atlantic City's centennial celebration.

1962:A small visitor's center was constructed at the base of the tower.

1963-December 31: Governor Richard Hughes pressed a button in the New Jersey State House, relighting the lens for the first time
in 25 years for the State of New Jersey's Tercentenary year.

1970-September 11: Absecon Lighthouse was placed on New Jersey's Register of Historic Places.

1971-January 25: The Absecon Lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

1988:The Inlet Public/Private Association (IPPA) was formed and adopted Absecon Lighthouse as its logo, signifying the rebirth of
the Inlet section of Atlantic City.

1994:IPPA formally adopted Absecon Lighthouse and pursued various funding options for a Historic Structure Report (HSR), leading to the tower's ultimate restoration. IPPA received a $50,000 grant from the City of Atlantic City for the HSR.

1995:IPPA hired the architectural firm of Watson & Henry Associates to prepare the HSR. Watson & Henry previously designed restorations of the Lighthouse's 'sister' towers in Cape May and Barnegat. The HSR was completed in December 1995.

IPPA received a $100,000 grant from the City of Atlantic City to support the restoration process.

IPPA received a $500,000 grant from the federal Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) for preservation of
the Lighthouse Tower.

IPPA hired Sara Cureton as executive director for the Lighthouse, thus filling the position of Lightkeeper for the first time since 1933.

1996:IPPA received a commitment for a $970,000 grant from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority for the restoration of Absecon Lighthouse, including the reconstruction of the Lightkeeper's House.

IPPA hired Watson & Henry Associates to prepare designs for the tower restoration.

IPPA hires the architectural firm of Westfield Architects and Preservation Consultants to prepare plans for the Keeper's House portion of the project.

IPPA received a commitment for $1,000,922 from the New Jersey Historic Trust for tower restoration.

IPPA received local approval from the Atlantic City Planning Board for the reconstruction of the Keeper's House portion of the Lighthouse.

1997-May: Restoration of the tower began. Reconstruction of the Keeper's House began shortly thereafter.

1998:Restoration of the tower reached substantial completion. The reconstructed Lightkeeper's House was lost in a tragic fire on July 6th, just weeks away from completion. Miraculously, the tower portion of the structure escaped substantial injury.

1999:IPPA opened the historic tower to visitors, while continuing efforts to rebuild the lost Keeper's House.

2001-October: IPPA opens the reconstructed Keeper's House to visitors.

2005:IPPA hires a new Executive Director, Jean Muchanic.

2007:Absecon Lighthouse celebrates its 150th anniversary on January 15, 2007.

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