Navesink Lighthouse is getting a much-needed renovation as part of a $470,000 project funded by the State of New Jersey. The project is being undertaken to stop water penetration into the two towers and lower gallery sections of the building. Damage cause by those leaks will also be repaired. Work includes the re-pointing of some of the historic stonework, painting of the interior and exterior of the tower watch and lamp rooms, and replacement of plastic windowpanes installed twenty years ago. The new windows will be laminated glass. At the lamp room level the interior decking and missing metal bands, railings, and handholds on both towers were replaced.
Navesink Lighthouse was first constructed in 1828 by the Federal Government to mark the entrance to New York Harbor. Its two-tower characteristic insured that mariners would not mistake it for the nearby Sandy Hook Lighthouse or the Sandy Hook Lightship anchored off shore. The current lighthouse replaced the earlier one and was lit on May 1, 1862. The new Navesink Twin Lights were built of brown sandstone blocks quarried in Belleville near Newark, New Jersey. At one time this was one of the brightest lighthouses in the Untied States, and was the site of the first use of the Fresnel Lens in America. The Italian inventor Marconi demonstrated his wireless telegraph from here in 1899, for the first time in the United States.
Today Navesink Twin Lights is part of the New Jersey State Park system. It houses a museum, gift shop, and exhibits which are open to the public Wednesday to Sunday, 10am-5pm. Visitors climbing to the north tower observation deck are treated to a spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean 200 feet below the bluff on which the lighthouse sits. To the north is the New York City skyline some 15 miles away, and below Sandy Hook, now part of the National Park Service’s Gateway National Recreation Area.
The renovation project, which began in August, is anticipated to be done by the time this issue of Lighthouse Digest is in the mail. The general contractors for the job are the Haverstick-Borthwick Company of Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania with the architectural firm of Holt, Russell, and Morgan of Princeton providing supervision. Funds are through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Parks and Forestry, administrators of the site.
This story appeared in the
January 2003 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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