Category: Small Museums and Galleries in New Jersey

Finns Point Lighthouse                                        Fort Mott & Lighthouse Roads                Pennsville, NJ 08070

Finns Point Lighthouse Fort Mott & Lighthouse Roads Pennsville, NJ 08070

Finns Point Lighthouse

Fort Mott & Lighthouse Roads

Pennsville, NJ 08070

(856) 935-3218

https://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=374

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finns_Point_Range_Light

Hours: Sunday-Saturday (Open with Fort Mott State Park-Lighthouse Currently closed, check the website of the park)

Admission: Free when open

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46726-d14113446-Reviews-Finns_Point_Rear_Range_Light-Pennsville_New_Jersey.html

The Finns Point Lighthouse is located in the Fort Mott State Park and the afternoon that I was there which was the third Sunday of the month of June, it was not open. In fact, it looked like it had never opened for the day.

The gift shop/information center had a sign from 2019 with the hours of operation and the steps were not well cared for and the gardens around the building were over-grown. The lighthouse itself is behind a fence that you can look at but not enter and from what I read online is not open even when it should be if it is too hot or too cold because conditions inside can be impossible. From what I have read from online reviews, it looks like it has not been open since pre-COVID for the 2019 season.

Still, the lighthouse has a majestic look to it and must have some views when it is open. If it is not open, take time to visit Fort Mott and the State Park, which offers spectacular views of Delaware Bay and the surrounding grouds. Take time to explore the fort and the where the guns were mounted. Very interesting.

Fort Mott also has a very good Visitors Center and small museum inside to see the history of the fort, artifacts from the fort and from the war years and all sorts of interesting information on the area.

The Finns Point Lighthouse

The History of the Finns Point Lighthouse”

(From the Friends of the Finns Point Lighthouse website-modified):

https://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=374

(Please read the above Friends Website for the complete history in detail of the ligthouse)

Soon after the 1638 landing of the Finnish colonists near the present site of Wilmington, DE, a small group of settlers crossed over to the east bank of Delaware River, where the land was though to be more fertile and established farms. One group selected land near the sweeping turn in the Delaware River and this area remains known to this day as Finns Point.

By an act of Congress in 1875, $55,000 was set apart for two pairs of range lights to help vessels transition from Delaware Bay into the Delaware River. Port Penn Range, located in Delaware, would guide traffic along the shipping channel from Ship John Shoal to Ready Island, while Finns Point Range would help vessels continue upriver, passing between Reedy Island and Baker Shoal.

Lt. Colonel William F. Reynolds of the U.S. Corps of Engineers oversaw construction of the front and rear range lights at Finns Point. The front light was located near the banks of the Delaware River and was displayed from a frame dwelling of the following description: “one and one half stories high with shingle roof, double weather-boarded on outside and lathed and plastered inside. Its rests on stone walls founded on wooden piles. The first story is divided into three rooms with the hall and stairways to the second floor and cellar and shed over the back door, porch and bay window in the front. The second story is divided similarly to the first, with a step ladder to lantern on the third floor, a gallery supported by brackets surrounds the lantern on front and sides.”

The illuminating apparatus for the front light was a fourth order range lens manufacured by Barbier & Fenestre in Paris, which focused the light from a fourth-order Funk Heap Lamp with one wick. In 1882, a “wooden screen painted white, with open spaces so as to show horizontal stripes” was placed atop the front lighthouse’s red tavern room to make the structure more conspicious during the day. The daymark was removed in 1897.

Three acres of land, roughly one and a half miles inland from the front ligth, were purchased from Joshua and Mary Dickinson on April 20th, 1876 as the site for the rear range light. To provide a focal plane higher than that of the front light, the project plans called for a tall, wrought iron tower to be used for displaying the rear light. The Kellogg Bridge Company of Buffalo, NY was contracted to manufacture the components of the wrought tower, which were then transported to Salem, NJ by railcar. From Salem, teams of mules pulled large wagons loaded with pieces of the iron tower to the construction site.

A frame keeper’s dwelling was built just west of the tower, along with a wood-framed privy and an oil house. The first keeper of Finns Point Rear Range Light was Edward Dickerson, who started serving on December 8th, 1876 event though the light was not lit until April 2nd, 1877.

Fast forward to the 1970’s when the old dwelling was razed because it was unsafe but locals showed an interesting in the lighthouse and having it moved. Resident Betty Husarik formed the “Save the Lighthouse Committee”. They faulted in moving the ligthouse but placed it on the National Register of Historic Sites in 1978.

In 1981, the committee set out to Washington DC to meet with their local congressman and the drive resulted in a contract for $33,600 being signed between the US Fish and Wildlife Service, on whose land the tower now stood and K & K Painting Company of Baltimore to have the tower repairs, sandblasted and painted. An open house was held at the tower on October 14th, 1984 to honor the determined effort shown by the “Save the Lighthouse Committee” and others in restoring the tower.

Today it is opened for limited tours and special events.

Church Landing Farm at Pennsville Township Historical Society                                                    86 Church Landing Road                          Pennsville, NJ 08070

Church Landing Farm at Pennsville Township Historical Society 86 Church Landing Road Pennsville, NJ 08070

Church Landing Farm at Pennsville Township Historical Society

86 Church Landing Road

Pennsville, NJ 08070

(856) 678-4453

http://www.pvhistory.com/museum.htm

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/History-Museum/Pennsville-Township-Historical-Society-291880372272/

Open: Sunday 1:00pm-3:00pm/ Monday-Tuesday Closed/Wednesday 1:00pm-3:00pm/Thursday-Saturday Closed

Admission: Donation suggested/check website

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g46726-d24140695-r844169560-Church_Landing_Farmhouse-Pennsville_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

Church Landing Farm-Pennsville Historical Society

I unfortunately reached the Church Landing Farm too late in the day and I just must have missed the staff there. I was knocking on the front door and back door looking for someone to talk to to see if I could still get in to see the house. I could not find anyone considering there were three cars in the parking lot outside mine.

I could see from the outside the period furniture and paintings that were part of the furnishings of the house. I could also see the hallways but still no one in sight.

I was able to tour the grounds though and walk through the small gardens. There were several buildings on the property that looked like smoke houses and outhouses. The grounds had the most spectacular views of the Delaware Bay and the Delaware Memorial Bridge. I am sure much of this did not exist in that time frame but still it is the most amazing view especially on a sunny day like I had. The sun has the most amazing shine on the water from this direction.

Even when the house is not open, still take time to tour the grounds and visit the outer buildings. It is a nice walk around the property.

The History of the Church Landing Farmhouse/Penn Township Historical Society:

(From the Pennsville Township Historical Society website):

The Church Landing Farmhouse was built in 1840 by Daniel Garrison. In 1991, the Atlantic City Electric Company provided structural renovations to the house and a group of dedicated volunteers from the community restored the farmhouse and grounds to their current glory.

The Church Landing Farmhouse

The Church Landing Farmhouse grounds currently house a 130 year old Floating Fishing Cabin, a 100 year old Wash House owned by Pennsville Physician Dr. James, the 100 year old Perry Farm Privy (the farm is located on the Pennsville-Salem Road), the Riverview Beach Park Museum, a 1929 Art Deco Tile from the original Deepwater Generating Station building, a one room Schoolhouse, and the historic records that features PMHA, Salem and SCCS Yearbooks, local genealogy, Township Obituaries (2010-2020), Federal NJ Township Census Records and local history.

The displays at the museum feature newspaper clipping and a section on local newsman Bill Gallo Jr., police, fire and military from the area, high school yearbooks and displays, ferry and excursion ships, antique looms, sewing machines and spinning wheels, antique tools and church records.

The Nicolas Gibbon House                                   960 Greate Street                                     Greenwich, NJ 08323

The Nicolas Gibbon House 960 Greate Street Greenwich, NJ 08323

The Nicolas Gibbon House

960 Great Street

Greenwich, NJ 08323

(856) 455-4055

Nicholas Gibbon House

http://www.co.cumberland.nj.us/gibbonhouse

Open: Sunday 1:00pm-4:00pm/Monday Closed/Tuesday 1:00pm-4:00pm/Wednesday-Saturday Closed

Admission: Free but a donation suggested

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g46477-d24137202-r844109193-The_Gibbon_House-Greenwich_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

The Nicholas Gibbon House

I was very impressed by the Nicholas Gibbon House when I took a tour one Saturday afternoon. There were no large crowds to deal with and the parking is perfect with plenty of room to move around. The grounds are beautifully landscaped with all sorts of seasonal flowers surrounding the house. When I visited I thought I was mistaken and it was someone’s home. There was a lot of care put into both the exterior and interior of this home.

Nicolas Gibbon was a local merchant who moved to Greenwich in 1730 and continued to live here until the 1760’s. The tour guide explained to me that the townspeople would not let him build a church here (it was a Quaker region) so he and his wife decided to move out of the area. Richard Wood and his family moved into the house in 1760 and lived in the house until the 1920’s. Over that time, parts of the house were modernized and rebuilt. The Wood family later in the generations founded the WaWa store chain.

With the exception of the Nicolas Gibbon’s nephew and his wife’s portraits, all of the furnishings are not originally from the house. The downstairs is set up with a formal dining room and parlor area fully furnished in Victorian era furniture, paintings, rugs and silver. The silver collection of the house is very elaborate and some of the pieces came from the Hershey family of Pennsylvania.

The library and study has rare books that were used for research as well as a working fireplace that was used for both light and heat. Downstairs is the kitchen with a large hearth and all the equipment and serving items for kitchen and dining use for the home.

The tour guide explained to me that during some of the past fundraisers, the hearth was used to cook foods of the time period that were served for events.

Upstairs you have an elaborate master bedroom with all sorts of formal furnishings for a upper middle class family living in the area. What was the interesting part of the second floor of the home was the “Everything Room”, which contained a extensive collection of toys and dolls, Civil War historic items, period clothing, bonnets, top hats and parasols, an extensive collection of quilts and Hair Art which was a Victorian tradition of making art from the hair of the dead.

There was a collection of ‘Sewing Samplers’, which is how young women learned how to perfect their sewing skills which was part of their domestic training for being a housewife.

The collection of the house really gave a glimpse into the lives of people from the 1840’s until almost WWI. How much life has changed but not too much.

Historic Marker outside the home

History of the Gibbon House:

In 1730, Nicholas Gibbon who had inherited more than 3000 acres of land nearby, bought a 16 acre lot in Greenwich on which he built a replica of a London Townhouse he had admired. The brick, fired on the property, was laid in the Flemish Bond pattern brought from Kent, England: this design is achieved by using a red stretcher and blue header producing a definite and attractive pattern. Rubbed brick is a further architectural feature, outlining each door and window opening as well as being used to emphasize the four corners of the house.

The Upstairs bedroom at the Gibbon House (Cumberland Historical Society.com)

The home, appropriately furnished with products of 18th and 19th century atrisans contains a reception hall, a paneled dining room, a formal drawing room and a kitchen dominated by a huge walk-in fireplace in which demonstration of colonial open-fire cooking are conducted.

The walk-in fireplace at the Gibbon House (Cumberland Historical Society.com)

There is a small store on the back porch where post cards, gifts and a fine collection of books and pamphlets on the history of the area may be purchased.

On second floor, in addition to a bedroom, are exhibits of 19th century locally made, rush seated. “Ware” chairs, children’s toys, dolls and clothing as well as Civil War artifacts donated by local families.

East Point Lighthouse                                            10 Lighthouse Road                               Heislerville, NJ 08324

East Point Lighthouse 10 Lighthouse Road Heislerville, NJ 08324

East Point Lighthouse

11 Lighthouse Road

Heislerville, NJ 08324

(856) 785-0349

http://eastpointlight.com/

https://www.facebook.com/eastpointlight/

Open: Sunday 1:00pm-4:00pm/Monday-Friday Closed/Saturday 1:00pm-4:00pm/Please check the website for seasonal dates

Admission: $8.00

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46502-d12629019-Reviews-East_Point_Lighthouse-Heislerville_New_Jersey.html

I visited the East Point Lighthouse on a glorious sunny day when there was no wind in the forcast and it made for an excellent visit to this lighthouse right by the sea. I noticed that on almost all sides, there were man-made barriers to protect the lighthouse grounds from erosion.

The grounds were a combination of dunes with beach grass, rocks and tiger lillys all over the property to give it a colorful look. There were misty breezes from the water that felt so good as it got hotter that day. The property is pretty contained and there is parking all around the building but the lots are small.

I bought my tickets in the gift shop ($8.00), was able to look around at the well-stocked shop with its nautical books and tee-shirts and hats with the lighthouse logo on it. You are also able to go to the bathroom.

The tour of the lighthouse is a self guided tour and you are able to climb the stairs and visit each room of the lighthouse as if the lighthouse keeper and his family still lived there. When I was talking with one of the volunteers that morning on the first floor, he told me as they were renovating the lighthouse after the fire and completing it, they put the word out to the community for donations to furnish the lighthouse with items that may have come from the period that the lighthouse was in operations. The donations poured in with family hierlooms that filled each room up.

On the first floor is the kitchen with its time period ice box and coal stove which shows what life was life for a housewife before WWII. I am sure that electricity was tough getting to ligthouse especially during storms. You had washboards and basins for wash day and all the equipment to clean the house.

The lighthouse office of the lighthouse keeper was equiped with all things that are needed to keep the place running from maps to communication equipment to a fully stocked desk. There were no days off in this job. There was even a picture of Clara Noon, who as a little girl was the last child to live in the ligthouse. She visited again as a senior in the early 1990’s.

The upstairs had a fully furnished adults bedroom with period clothes of the early 1900’s to WWII and the furnishings were of various periods of living in the lighthouse. The children’s bedroom was really elaborate with rope beds, children’s furniture, lots of toys from the 1890’s to the 1930’s and a great doll collection. There was even a handmade dollhouse complete with elaborate furniture that was handmade by a local resident. It was very impressive.

There were also all sorts of maps and rare books to look at and a complete radio room and then the last set of stairs took you up to the light were you could see the views of the ocean. In fact the views from all the floors was pretty impressive.

It is an amazing self-guided tour that gives you a glimpse into the life of the families that lived here. It may not have been this elaborate as all the items inside the lighthouse but it gives you a clue on what life must have been like by using your imagination.

What was interesting is that the ligthouse opened in 1849 and then became fully automated in 1911 so its use of a lighthouse keeper was pretty much over before WWI. Still over a period of time you can see how the job changed with automation and advancement of technology.

I took time to walk the grounds. The landscaping and the beach dunes gave it a very attractive backdrop.

A wonderful video on the ligthouse tour from YouTube

The History of the East Point Lighthouse:

(From the Cumberland County Historical Division/NJ Lighthouse.com/East Point Tourism Pamphlet):

The East Point Lighthouse is an active lighthouse that was built in 1849, situated on the southern bayshore in Cumberland County, NJ. The ligthhouse originally had a lighthouse keeper to maintain the lights. In exchange for doing this work, they were allowed to live here rent free and were paid the sum of $1.00 per year for their services. It was fully automated by 1911.

The lighthouse was blacked out in WWII and then after the war, the Coast Guard decided the lighthouse was not longer necessary and decommissioned it in 1941. Over the years it deteriorated quickly over time.

In 1955, the Federal Government decided to sell the lighthouse and the propery as surplus and it was purchased by a Long Island construction company but before the sale was consummated it was found that proper disposal procedures were not followed in that the lighthouse was not first offered to the State of New Jersey. The state was interested in the property not because of the lighthouse but because the site was surrounded by the Heisersville Wildlife Refuge and would provide a place for boats to be launched.

Local residents became concerned with the condition of the lighthouse and in February of 1971, the Maurice River Historical Society was founded with the goal of restoring the lighthouse. In July of 1971 before negotiations were complete, the lighthouse was set on fire. Through a series of grants over the years and a lot of dedication from the volunteers, the lighthouse has been reconstructed.

This fully restored and furnished lighthouse with its beacon on each night serves as both an active navigational aid serviced by the United States Coast Guard as well as a year round museum, thanks to the work of the Maurice River Historical Society that manages this historical site.

East Point Lighthouse logo

Through the work of the non-profit historical society that over saw the full restoration, fully furnished, maintains and manages the lighthouse, it’s open to the public to climb/tour and for specials events year round. Both the lighthouse and grounds surrounding the lighthouse are on the National Historic Registry. East Point is the second oldest lighthouse in New Jersey (behind the Sandy Hook Lighthouse) and the only remaining New Jersey land based lighthouse on the Delaware Bay.

The two story Cape Cod style lighthouse with its distinctive red roof by day and blinking red beacon by night, marks the mouth of the Maurice River on the Delaware Bay. East Point is known for its rich maritime history, spectacular views, wide variety of wildlife and beautiful sunsets, making it a popular destination for tourist, artists, photographers, wildlife and history enthusiasts alike.