Barnegat Lighthouse Looks Like New After Million Dollar Restoration

TOMS RIVER, NJ – Situated on Long Beach Island, the Barnegat Lighthouse now shimmers brightly in the Jersey Shore after a much needed million dollar face lift was completed last year.

After being closed to the public for more than a year, the lighthouse reopened last June 10 after a $1.3 million renovation project.

Nicknamed “Old Barney”, the lighthouse is one of the more iconic landmarks at the Jersey Shore.

Its story begins in the early 19th century, a time when the dangerous shoals of the Jersey Shore wreaked havoc on maritime navigation. Recognizing the urgent need for a navigational aid to guide ships safely around the perilous Barnegat Shoals, the United States Congress appropriated funds for the construction of the Barnegat Lighthouse in 1834.

Constructed and first lit in 1859, the lighthouse originally featured a state-of-the-art Fresnel lens, which significantly amplified its light. This technological marvel was visible for up to 19 nautical miles, serving as a crucial guide for mariners navigating the treacherous waters off New Jersey’s coast. Over the years, “Old Barney” has undergone several renovations to both its structure and its lighting system, adapting to the evolving needs of maritime navigation while preserving its historic essence.

In addition to its practical function, the Barnegat Lighthouse has played a pivotal role in coastal community life. It became a gathering point for locals and visitors alike, drawn by its majestic presence and the panoramic views it offers from its observation deck. The lighthouse’s significance transcends its navigational purpose, embodying the cultural and historical spirit of the Jersey Shore.

The turn of the 20th century saw the lighthouse’s role in navigation diminish with advancements in navigational technology. Despite this, “Old Barney” remained a beloved landmark, leading to its designation as a state park in the late 20th century. This transformation marked a new chapter in the lighthouse’s history, ensuring its preservation for future generations while fostering a deeper appreciation for New Jersey’s maritime heritage.

Today, the Barnegat Lighthouse stands not just as a beacon of maritime safety but as a monument to the history of maritime navigation and the enduring spirit of the coastal communities it has served for over a century. Its story, from a vital navigational aid to a cherished historical landmark, reflects the broader narrative of America’s lighthouses and their lasting legacy on the nation’s coastal landscape.

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