TRENTON – Barnegat Lighthouse will close to visitors for the next seven months as the Department of Environmental Protection embarks on a $1.3 million restoration of the historic lighthouse, DEP Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced today.
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.
“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.
“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 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.