Historic Absecon Lighthouse
In the days before the construction of this landmark lighthouse, the locals also knew the Absecon inlet as the ‘graveyard inlet’ because of its high incidence of disastrous shipwrecks. In 1854, Jonathan Pitney (widely regarded as the ‘father’ of Atlantic City) secured government funding to construct this dramatic pillar of light on Absecon Island and thus greatly improve affairs for all seamen.
The construction itself was an elegant feat of engineering in its day and Absecon lighthouse towers 171ft above ground level and requires an ascent of 228 steps to reach the observation deck which is just below the lantern room (requiring a further 12 steps).
The original lantern was a candescent illumination using pioneering French prism technology – namely a ‘first order Fresnel lens’ from Paris. This is a huge piece of glass at 9ft high and 6ft diameter, weighing somewhere between 5 and 6 tons. The resultant lantern light can be seen for 19.5 nautical miles. Absecon is the tallest lighthouse structure in New Jersey State and the third tallest in the entire USA. Whilst it is a bit of a ‘work-out’ in its own right climbing up all those steps it is really worth it and, once at the top, one may well be surprised to be greeted by a charming lady, Elinor who is well into her pensionable years.
The lighthouse itself was officially decommissioned from maritime service in 1933 and the light was extinguished at the same time.
This fairytale venue now stands quite some distance from the contemporary shoreline and defies any intrusion from Atlantic City’s penchant for skyscraper developments. It’s also a great place to learn a bit more about Atlantic City, take in some great views and of course, to visit the lady of the tower!
Located at 31 S. Rhode Island Ave, in Atlantic City… and well worth a visit.
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