Barnegat Lighthouse will be closed to the public starting Tuesday, until October

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LONG BEACH ISLAND, NJ – One of New Jersey’s most famous and iconic lighthouses, the Barnegat Lighthouse, nicknamed “Old Barney” will close from March 15th until October for a restoration project.

According to the NJDEP, the lighthouse closes Monday, March 14. Construction work through October will involve a complete exterior restoration of the lighthouse, masonry recoating and repairs to the brick facade, interior lantern steel platform repairs, roof repairs, and the installation of new windows. Barnegat Lighthouse State Park will remain open.

The current Barnegat Lighthouse replaced an older lighthouse built in 1834. That lighthouse was just 40 feet tall and ironically, was destroyed and washed out to sea during a storm while construction was taking place on the new tower that stands today.

The lighthouse went into operation on January 1, 1859, for a sum of $69,000. It stands 169 feet tall and is the second tallest lighthouse in New Jersey.

This won’t be the only time the lighthouse has been closed to the public. In 1988, after a piece of metal fell off the lighthouse, residents raised $660,000 in grants to perform the first major renovation at the site.

“For 165 years the Barnegat Lighthouse has stood as an important beacon to sailors, ships, and Jersey shore visitors,” Commissioner LaTourette said. “This critical restorative work will ensure that the historic lighthouse remains a bright and welcoming landmark for future generations.”

“The lighthouse will remain dark for the duration of the project being done by Spartan Construction General Contracting, Inc. of South Amboy. Scaffolding will also be erected for the entire height of the lighthouse. The restoration project is funded by the Corporate Business Tax,” the DEP said in a statement.

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“While the lighthouse will be closed to visitors, Barnegat Lighthouse State Park will continue to be open for fishing, hiking, birding, and picnicking,” said John Cecil, Assistant Commissioner for State Parks, Forests & Historic Sites. “The park office, interpretive center, fisherman’s walkway, and trails also will remain open for guests to enjoy.”

To round out the restoration work, the Friends of Barnegat Lighthouse will donate a new beacon light for the lighthouse as well as new security fencing. The fisherman’s walkway will not offer Americans with Disabilities Act access during the restoration.
After being decommissioned in 1927, the Barnegat Lighthouse sat dark until 2009 when the Friends of Barnegat Lighthouse donated the current light, which was activated on Jan. 1, 2009 – exactly 150 years after the structure’s original lighting in 1859.

Constructed in 1856, the Barnegat Lighthouse is one of the signature destinations along the Jersey Shore and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Located on the northern tip of Long Beach Island in Ocean County, the location was regarded as one of the most crucial “change of course” points for coastal vessels. Ships bound to and from New York along the New Jersey coastline depended on Barnegat Lighthouse to avoid the shoals extending from the shoreline. The swift currents, shifting sandbars and the offshore shoals challenged the skills of even the most experienced sailor.

Shore visitors wanting to climb a lighthouse this summer may visit one of the State Park Service’s other lighthouses including Twin Lights Historic Site in Highlands, Absecon Lighthouse in Atlantic City or the Cape May Lighthouse in Cape May Point.

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