Famous Lights

Sandy Hook Lighthouse

The information contained in this section is taken verbatim from HISTORICALLY FAMOUS LIGHTHOUSES - CG-232. Although the format has been changed slightly for better reading and display. BJ 'n Cindy

The Sandy Hook Light tower is the oldest original tower still standing and in use in the United States. The light in this tower was lighted for the first time on June 11, 1764. Originally called the "New York Lighthouse," it was built by Mr. Isaac Conro of New York City with money collected by a group of New York merchants and maintained by tonnage dues of 22 pence per ton paid to the port of New York "By order of an Act of the Colony." The location of the lighthouse on New Jersey land eventually caused dissension between the two States. It was one of the 12 lighthouses built by the colonies which, by the act of August 7, 1789, were ceded to the United States. The new Federal Government agreed to maintain them thereafter.

The lighthouse was described in 1764 as follows: "This House is of an Octagon Figure, having eight equal sides; the Diameter of the Base 29 feet; and at the Top of the Wall 15 Feet. The Lanthorn is 7 feet high; the Circumference 15 Feet. The whole Construction of the Lanthorn is Iron; the top covered with Copper. There are 48 Oil Blazes. The Building from the Surfaces is Nine Stories; the whole from Bottom to Top 103 Feet."

A lot of about 4 acres "at the point of Sandy Hook, in Monmouth County," was ceded to the United States by the State of New Jersey on November 16, 1790, and on March 1, 1804, the State of New Jersey "consented to the purchase of a lot on the north point of Sandy Hook, for the purpose of erecting a beacon." Appropriations for a beacon "to be erected on the north point of Sandy Hook" were made in 1804 ($2,000), 1805 ($6,000), 1807 ($1,200) and 1817 ($1,200). In 1832 there were two beacons on the Hook, "one on the north point, ranging with the light and buoy of the upper middle; and the westernmost one and light ranging with the buoy on the SW. spit, in both of which are lamps."

In 1852 the Lighthouse Board reported "The tower of Sandy Hook main light was constructed in 1764, under royal charter, of rubblestone, and is now in a good state of preservation. Neither leaks nor cracks were observed in it. The mortar appeared to be good, and it was stated that the annual repairs upon this tower amount to a smaller sum than in the towers of any of the minor lights in the New York district. The illuminating apparatus is composed of 18 21 inch reflectors, and Argand lamps which were fitted new, according to the best information on the subject, in 1842."

The light is a 60,000-candlepower, third-order electric light, fixed white, in a white stone tower, 85 feet above ground and 88 feet above water, visible for 15 miles. (1) (2) (7)