Tag: Long Beach Island NJ

Barnegat Lighthouse State Park                                           208 Broadway                                             Barnegat, NJ 08006

Barnegat Lighthouse State Park 208 Broadway Barnegat, NJ 08006

Barnegat Lighthouse State Park

208 Broadway

Barnegat, NJ 08006

(609) 494-2016

https://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/parks/barnlig.html

Open: Sunday-Saturday 8:00am-8:00pm

Fee: Free off season/ Check Website

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46285-d286497-Reviews-Barnegat_Lighthouse_State_Park-Barnegat_Light_Long_Beach_Island_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

I was able to visit the Barnegat Lighthouse State Park on a recent trip to Long Beach and what a beautiful park with wonderful views of the inlet and of the Atlantic Ocean.

In 2020, the lighthouse is closed because of COVID so I will have to wait in the future to climb the stairs which is noted for people who like to explore lighthouses but still you are able to admire the building from the outside.

The Bar

The Barnegat Lighthouse on the inlet side

There is a walking path through the bush areas of dunes. You need to keep yourself socially distanced at this time as you admire the trees and what is left at this point of the season of flowering plants. It was interesting to read how these species survive the ocean and salt air. It is amazing how these plants can survive the storms and how they keep the beach from eroding.

The Maritime Forest Trail is a 1/5 mile long, self-guided loop through one of the last remnants of maritime forest in New Jersey. The forest, which is dominated by black cherry, sassafras, eastern red cedar and American Holly, which is an important resting and feeding area for migratory birds on their long journey to and from their breeding areas (Park Literature).

It is also the home for migrating birds. There were all sorts of ducks swimming around and there a a bird that looked like a crane who looked like it was getting vain from all the pictures that people were taking of it.

The park has a 1033 foot concrete walkway that the fisherman use and people were sitting along the benches watching people fish and boaters come and go from the inlet. The walkway was a nice place to see the waves crash along the sides of the park.

I just saw a lot of dumb people walking along the wet rocks with waves crashing by which is not smart. Still you got great views of Seaside Park and the Atlantic Ocean from this part of the park. It is fun watching the fisherman casting lines, sharing stories and the fishing boats in the distance go out to sea close to the beach.

On a nice day take the time to walk through the nature trails and the dunes that face the ocean. It is a small but interesting trail with all sorts of native plants and a very nice description that the park gives you about each and their place at the shore. Each has a place with the wild life and the migration patterns for birds on their way to their next home. It shows what an important place that New Jersey serves for wildlife.

I revisited the park in November of 2021 and on a very windy day, the lighthouse was open and I finally made my way to the top. It was quite a hike up those narrow stairs on a extremely windy day but I made it to the top in about fifteen minutes. Along the way, there was small landings with sweeping views of the ocean.

Once to the top, there was a landing that surrounded the top of the lighthouse with views of the park and lagoon areas and the surrounding tip of the island. The strong winds prevented me from staying there too long plus there was not much space to move around and you felt like you were caged in but the views were spectacular. I made it down in ten minutes since there were only six other people there.

It was nice of them to finally open the lighthouse.

The History of Barnegat Lighthouse State Park:

Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, located on the northern tip of Long Beach Island along the New Jersey Atlantic coastline, is one of New Jersey’s most recognized landmarks and a veteran of service to seafarers for 68 years. The park is easily accessible from the Garden State Parkway by taking exit 63 and following Route 72 east to Long Beach Boulevard northbound.

Park visitors can picnic, sunbathe, fish, bird watch, climb the historic lighthouse (post COVID), walk the Interpretive Center (post COVID) and enjoy the seashore. Swimming, however is not permitted. Barnegat Lighthouse is included as a maritime site on the New Jersey Heritage Trail Route (Barnegat Lighthouse State Park Pamphlet).

The beauty of the park in the later afternoon

Barnegat Lighthouse stands on the south side of Barnegat Inlet, The inlet was named “Barendegat” or “Breakers Inlet” by early Dutch explorers because of the large cresting waves that made navigation difficult. The site of the lighthouse was considered on of the most important “change of course” points along the eastern seacoast for vessels sailing to New York from Europe. Sailors depended on Barnegat Lighthouse as a navigational aide to assist them in reaching their posts and to avoid the dangerous shoals that extended from the shore.

In 1834, the U.S. Congress appropriated $6,000 to establish a lighthouse as Barnegat Inlet. The lighthouse was completed and placed into service in July of 1835. At only 40 feet tall with a non-blinking light, the first lighthouse at Barnegat Inlet was a miserable failure doing little to reduce the number of shipwrecks. In 1856, guided by recommendations from then Lieutenant George G. Meade of the U.S. Army Bureau of Topographical Engineers, Congress appropriated another $60,000 to construct a “first class light” at Barnegat Inlet.

Lieutenant Meade drew up the plans and Lieutenant W.S. Raynolds supervised the construction of the new lighthouse. On the night of January 1, 1859, the majestic new Barnegat Lighthouse was lit for the first time. Its first order Fresnel lens, at 175 feet above sea level was so powerful that it could be seen for 19 nautical miles.

The lens was made in 1856 by Henri Le Paute of Paris, France from glass produced at the famous furnace at St. Gobian. The beehive-shaped Fresnel lens is six feet in diameter, ten feet high and is formed from over 1,000 separate glass prisms and twenty four bull’s eye lenses mounted in a brass frame. It weighs nearly five tons. Today the lens is on display in the Barnegat Light Historical Museum on Central Avenue and 5th Street in Barnegat Light, New Jersey. For hours of operation, please call the museum at (609) 494-8578.

Turned by a clockwork mechanism, the lens rotated once every four minutes. The speed of the rotation and the 24 individual beams of light from the 24 bull’s eye lens gave Barnegat Lighthouse it’s characteristic” of one flash every ten seconds.

At the turn of the century, due to the encroaching sea and seemingly inevitable collapse, the Lighthouse Board considered abandoning Barnegat Lighthouse and replacing it with a lightship anchored off the coast. The popularity of the lighthouse as a landmark caused the Lighthouse Board to reconsider their plan and to erect temporary measures to hold back the sea. Later, local residents raised two thousand dollars to construct permanent jetties to protect the lighthouse.

In 1926, Barnegat Lighthouse and surrounding property were transferred from the Federal government to the State of New Jersey… to maintain this reservation for historical purposes and for the preservation of the lighthouse tower. The lighthouse was decommissioned and replaced by the Barnegat Lightship in 1927. Barnegat Lighthouse State Park opened to the public in 1957.

A bust of General George G. Meade was unveiled at the dedication ceremony in honor of his distinguished service during the Civil War as the Commanding General of Federal troops at the Battle of Gettysburg and for his role at Barnegat Lighthouse.

The bust of General George G. Meade in front of the lighthouse entrance

Today, the beloved Barnegat Lighthouse is shining again thanks to the Friends of Barnegat Lighthouse State Park who purchased a new lens that casts a single beam visible up to 22 nautical miles. The new light was illuminated at a ceremony on January 1, 2009 exactly 150 years to the day that it was originally lit in 1859 with over 1200 people witnessing the lighthouse becoming an official aid to navigation once again.

The lighthouse and the park in its glory

(This information comes from a combination of the Barnegat Lighthouse State Park pamphlet and website/Wiki-I give them full credit for the information provided).

Long Beach Island Historical Association Museum            129 Engleside Avenue                                      Beach Haven, NJ 08008

Long Beach Island Historical Association Museum 129 Engleside Avenue Beach Haven, NJ 08008

Long Beach Island Historical Association Museum

129 Engleside Avenue

Beach Haven, NJ  08008

(609) 492-0700

http://www.lbimuseum.com/

Open: July and August Sunday-Saturday 10:00am-4:00pm/June & September Saturday & Sunday 12:00pm-4:00pm. Special Appointments can be made at other times of the year and the museum is open for special events held by the town and for the holidays.

Fee: Adults: $5.00 donation/Children under 12 years old Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46292-d11444615-Reviews-Long_Beach_Island_Historical_Museum-Beach_Haven_Long_Beach_Island_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

This seasonal museum is a ‘must see’ on Long Beach Island when visiting the town of Beach Haven. It is the perfect rainy day place to visit. The museum covers all aspects of the history of the island from its time when the Native Americans lived and fished here to the coming of the English. The museum shows in pictures and artifacts how the island was developed into a Summer resort retreat catering to middle class and wealthy tourist mostly from Philadelphia.

Long Beach Island Museum

The Long Beach Island

The artifacts range from arrowheads and fishing equipment that the Native Americans left behind to a recent discovery of an old wooden boat created by the Lenni-Lenape  tribe. The museum describes in detail life in the Victorian Age on the island with a series of pictures of the old resort hotels, most of which have burned down over the last 100 years, to artifacts that from this time including china, silver and menus from the hotels. There is also a creation of a Victorian room, a telephone operator office, rail office and a children’s toy display from that time.

Long Beach Island Museum II

The Front Room of the museum

This is an interesting display of the fishing industry on the island as well. There is all sorts of equipment that has been used over the last 100 years and the progress that has been made in the industry. There are exhibits on the whaling industry and its lasting affects on the island. There is also the story of the shifting of the tides and the disappearance of Tucker’s Island, a small island to the south of Long Beach Island that has since disappeared underwater due to the shift in the currents.

Each area of the museum contains interesting pieces of the island’s past and you should take the time to look at each section carefully. For such a small museum, it is packed with interesting facts and a fascinating story of the development of the New Jersey shoreline and the role it is playing in our ever changing life down the shore.

Long Beach Island Museum III

The back room displays of the museum

I stopped in for a recent special event that the Society was having to celebrate Halloween. The museum was having an ‘Ghost Fest-Open House” event for families and what a nice program they had for the kids and their family members that was socially distanced and safe.

There were pony rides, a maze to explore, marshmallow toasting by the fire to make smores, corn hole tossing, games of chance, a gift store for the kids and even a costume parade with the “Jersey Devil” which the kids seemed to get a kick out of when he came out.

The Jersey Devil lead the Halloween Parade

There were also self-guided tours of the museum which were a lot of fun as well as people were coming in and out looking at the holiday displays. It was a nice that the museum had a safe program for the patrons and members of the community.

The Museum was decked out for Halloween

In November of 2021, the museum had the nicest little Christmas festival. They had tables around the front hall of the museum called “The Elves Workshop” with stations that the kids could create arts and crafts for the Christmas holidays with cookie decorating, gingerbread house creating and making a jewel covered Christmas tree among other things. The museum was decorated for the upcoming holidays.

Santa is on his way to Long Beach Island is the front display of the museum

From 4:00pm to 6:00pm that evening, the participants went the park across the street to roast marshmallows and Smores over open fire pits while Christmas music played in the background and the gazebo was lit with Christmas lights as it got dark. It was quite a site.

The Museum really puts you in the Christmas spirit with events like these.

It really put you in the holiday spirit.

Mission Statement:

The Long Beach Island Historical Association collects, preserves and interprets the history of Long Beach Island through its educational programs, guest lecturers, walking tours, special events and an ever growing research center. The museum, situated at the center of Beach Haven’s Historic District, showcases 24 exhibits which include over 450 photographs and hundreds of artifacts for the sole purpose of encouraging the public to not only understand out island’s rich history but also to appreciate the people and events who helped in shaping its character (Museum Website).

History of the Museum and Town:

Before the colonial period the native Lenape tribes in the local area travelled in wooden dugout canoes to the island seasonally, to escape the heat, fish, gather clams to eat and shells for jewelry and trade. The early local colonists used the barrier islands much the same, seasonally to fish, whale (semi-permanent campus were established as early as 1690), gather salt hay, bayberry & beach plum and make sea salt.

As the settlers became more established, ports such as Clamtown (later Tuckerton) were established about 1700 on the mainland and roads improved. Cattle were grazed on Tucker’s Island by 1735. Permanent seasonal accommodations were built on the island for men coming to fish and hunt; such as the Philadelphia Company House (started as Horners in 1815, became Bonds from 1851-1909) near Tuckers Island just south of what is now called Holgate and the Mansions of Health in Surf City (1822-1850). There was a “boarding hotel” at Barnegat inlet from about 1820 and the first manned lighthouse was built at the inlet in 1834. A manned lighthouse was built on Tucker’s Island in 1848, where a community, later called Sea Haven was springing up.

The island’s “modern” history begins as the railroads reached south to Toms River and Barnegat; with the Tuckerton Railroad reaching Manahawkin and Tucketon by 1872. The railroad allowed visitors (and goods needed for comfortable living) to reach the shore quickly and also allowed for shore products to be shipped to Philadelphia & New York all year. The first year-round life-saving stations were were established in 1871. Land Development companies laid out Beach Haven in 1872 and Barnegat City (now Barnegat Light) in 1878, with sailboats and steam launches begin used to transfer visitors and goods from mainland railroad to the island. The Parry House, Engleside and later the Baldwin hotels. were built in Beach Haven and the Oceanic & Sunset in Barnegat City.

The Tuckerton & Long Beach Land & Improvement Co. principals were also major stockholders in the Baldwin Locomotive Co., the Tuckerton Railroad and the Pennsylvania Railroad. After they and their wealthy Philadelphia friends built houses in Beach Haven, the PRR was convinced to build a railroad trestle to LBI which opened in 1886 (abandoned 1935) leading to an extended property boom from the 1880’s-1920’s, especially in Beach Haven. Other smaller communities such as: Spray Beach (1889), Beach Haven Terrace, Brant Beach, Surf City (Inc. in 1899) and Harvey Cedars (Inc. in 1894) were established along the railroad.

Although most of the houses built were still seasonal, the presence of the railroad (and later the 1914 automobile bridge) made permanent business & year round living on the island feasible. Census records show that the island’s permanent population was 33 people in 1880, increasing to 522 in 1910 and 1827 in 1930.

After the Depression of the 1930’s and the Second World War, development resumed in the “Cape Cod” period 1846-1962; assisted by the completion of the Garden State Parkway to Manahawkin in 1954 and the opening of the four-lane causeway (to replace the old two-lane wooden bridge) in 1956. The 1962 storm and early 70’s economic problems temporarily delayed development. By the late 70’s, the island was essentially “built out”. Most recent building boom of the period 1980-2007 consists of teardown/replacement of existing homes.

Because of early erosion in Barnegat City, Surf City and elsewhere and the extensive tear-downs of the 1980’s and 1990’s, the majority of the surviving 19th century and early 20th century structures on LBI are in Beach Haven. The Beach Haven Historic District (running from 5th to Chatsworth, east of Bay Avenue/LBI Boulevard) was created in 1983 in response to the increasing loss of historic structures and conflicting building styles. As of 2012, it is the only historic district on LBI.

(From the Museum website: I give full credit to the Long Beach Island Historical Association Museum for this information)