Page 26 - 2020 Southern New Jersey Vacationer
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Mind the light
   East Point Lighthouse
 HERE’S A BIT OF TRIVIA that might come in handy when you want to wow your friends with this two-part question. What are lighthouse aficionados called – and why?
Lighthouse lovers are called pharologists, a name that refers to the Lighthouse at Alexandria, often called Pharos of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
If you think our lighthouses in Southern New Jersey are old, ponder this: construction of Pharos of Alexandria started in 280 BC and survived until an earthquake in 1375 damaged it. It was demolished around 1480, years before Columbus set sail for the New World.
East Point Lighthouse, known as the Maurice River Lighthouse when it was built in 1849, is threatened by encroaching waters from the Delaware Bay along the Cumberland County shoreline. The light was automated in 1911, then decommissioned by the United States Coast Guard in 1941. With no keepers or custodians, the building soon deteriorated. Severely damaged by fire in 1971, the Maurice River Historical Society, with the help of federal and state funds, restored the two-story Cape Cod style brick structure with its bright red roof topped with a black lantern room. It is the last remaining lighthouse on the New Jersey side of the Delaware Bay and the second oldest standing lighthouse in the state. 856- 785-0349;
Cape May Lighthouse, actually in Lower Township, was built in 1857, the third light
in that area after the first two, constructed in 1823 and 1847, were lost to erosion. The last keeper of the light retired in the 1930s and the beacon was automated.
By the 1980s, the Coast Guard started leasing historic lighthouses to local entities who could restore and preserve these historic structures, and in 1986 Cape May MAC stepped up. It took another 15 years and nearly $2 million in grants to fully refurbish the lighthouse.
Cape May MAC also supervised safety improvements, the restoration of the oil house at the entrance to the lighthouse grounds, the lantern roof and windows, the interior walls and staircase. An archaeological investigation even located the original privies! The lighthouse was re-painted in its original color scheme – the tower is a light beige and the lantern is red. It is 157 feet tall with 199 steps; the Oil House at ground level is a visitor center and a museum shop. 609- 884-5404;
Hereford Inlet Lighthouse, designed by Paul Pelz who also designed the Library of Congress, was built in 1874. It is the only lighthouse of its kind on the East Coast and only one of three in the nation. The residential Stick-Style building served as both the keeper’s house and the light tower in one structure. Considered a harbor light, not a major coastal light, it marked the entrance to Hereford Inlet. After a severe storm undermined the building’s
foundation it was moved about 150 feet west to where it sits today. In 1964 the Coast Guard automated the light, as it had done with numerous other lighthouses. The building was boarded up and left to deteriorate for nearly two decades until 1982 when the building was leased to the City of North Wildwood and restoration started. In less than a year a portion of the building was open to the public as work continued. In 1986 the automated light that had been placed in an iron tower behind the lighthouse was moved back to the lantern room making it a fully
  Cape May Lighthouse

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