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Absecon Light

Absecon Light

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The Absecon Light is a coastal lighthouse
A lighthouse is a tower, building, or other type of structure designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses or, in older times, from a fire, and used as an aid to navigation for maritime pilots at sea or on inland waterways....

 located in the north end of Atlantic City, New Jersey
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Atlantic City is a city in Atlantic County, New Jersey, United States, and a nationally renowned resort city for gambling, shopping and fine dining. The city also served as the inspiration for the American version of the board game Monopoly. Atlantic City is located on Absecon Island on the coast...

 overlooking Absecon Inlet
Absecon Inlet
Absecon Inlet is a narrow strait on the southeastern coast of New Jersey in the United States.Absecon Inlet leads from the Atlantic Ocean through barrier islands in Atlantic County, New Jersey. Its southern shore is the north end of Absecon Island, on which lies Atlantic City, New Jersey...

. It is the tallest lighthouse in the state of New Jersey and is the third tallest masonry lighthouse in the United States. Construction began in 1854, with the light first lit on January 15, 1857. The lighthouse was deactivated in 1933 and although the light still shines every night, it is no longer an active navigational aid. The lighthouse is open to public visitation and for a small donation you may climb to the watch room and external gallery. A re-creation of the keepers' quarters was opened in 2002 and serves as a museum and gift shop. The original oil house now contains a Fresnel Lens
Fresnel lens
A Fresnel lens is a type of lens originally developed by French physicist Augustin-Jean Fresnel for lighthouses.The design allows the construction of lenses of large aperture and short focal length without the mass and volume of material that would be required by a lens of conventional design...

 exhibit. Along with school and group tours, the Absecon Lighthouse also offers an overnight program for Scouts, winter arts program for kids and a wide variety of special events throughout the year.

It was designed by George Meade
George Meade
George Gordon Meade was a career United States Army officer and civil engineer involved in coastal construction, including several lighthouses. He fought with distinction in the Second Seminole War and Mexican-American War. During the American Civil War he served as a Union general, rising from...

 and still retains its original first order fixed Fresnel lens. As the light was fixed (non-flashing), it does not have a landward segment allowing visitors to look up in the lens where the keepers entered it for maintenance.

Jack E. Boucher
Jack E. Boucher
Jack E. Boucher is an American photographer. He began working for the National Park Service in 1958 and continued working there until at least 2006, 48 years later, serving as the Chief Photographer for the Historic American Buildings Survey...

 conceived and oversaw the preservation of the lighthouse in 1964.

The lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

, the Historic American Buildings Survey
Historic American Buildings Survey
The Historic American Buildings Survey , Historic American Engineering Record , and Historic American Landscapes Survey are programs of the National Park Service established for the purpose of documenting historic places. Records consists of measured drawings, archival photographs, and written...

, and the New Jersey Register of Historic Places
New Jersey Register of Historic Places
The New Jersey Register of Historic Places is the official list of historic resources of local, state, and national interest in the U.S. state of New Jersey. The program is administered by the Historic Preservation Office of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.The register was...



Absecon Lighthouse has a history museum located in the replicated 1925 Keeper’s House. Exhibits include ocean life, shipwrecks, keepers and lighthouse history, local memorabilia and restoration photos. The Oil House has a Fresnel Lens exhibit. Visitors can climb the 228 steps to the top of the lighthouse. Educational programs are offered for groups and children.

See also

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