228 Steps - One Amazing Journey
New Jersey's tallest lighthouse at 171 feet tall
Time to explore
First lit on January 15, 1857.
New Jersey's tallest lighthouse at 171 feet tall.
The lighthouse has a total of 240 steps, with visitors able to climb 228 to the watchroom.
the Only lighthouse in New Jersey with its original first-order Fresnel Lens still in place at the top.
Diversity and Inclusion
The Association states that its mission is to "Preserve, interpret and operate Absecon Lighthouse site. Educate the public of its rich history and advocate the successful development of the Lighthouse District."
Starting offAfter 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. December 5 - The Camden and Atlantic Land Co. transferred the land for a lighthouse to the U.S. government for the sum of $520.
Construction BeginsConstruction began under the direction of Major Hartman Bache. Bache was replaced by Lieutenant George Meade, who would later command the Union Army at Gettysburg.
Final CostAn 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
First LightingThe 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.
Jetty's addedThe 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.