Historic Structures

Absecon Lighthouse, Atlantic City New Jersey

Date added: November 1, 2009 Categories: New Jersey Lighthouse

The lighthouse was constructed by the United States government after a number of tragic shipwrecks in the vicinity of Absecon Beach were attributed to lack of navigational signals. The beam is higher above sea level than any other light on the New Jersey Coast except the Twin Highland's Lights. The tower is circular and rises to a height of 171 feet above city grade. It has 3 major levels: the ground floor, the storage room beneath the lens and the lens chamber itself. The stone foundations are approximately 8' deep.

Inside an iron newel staircase (spiral) extends from the ground floor to the storage room and is interrupted by landings every 20 feet. A narrow winder stair provides access to the lens chamber. The storage room floor and exterior catwalk are supported by a band of 10 large stone brackets and the narrow interior and exterior catwalks of the lens chamber are supported by a band of 12 small iron brackets. Iron mullions secure the rectangular glass panes enclosing the lens chamber and also serve structurally to support the metal, 12-panel, pyramidal roof. The lighthouse lens is classified as a "Fresnel Lens of the first order," and is 6 feet in diameter at the focal plane, tapering 2 feet in diameter at the top. A 12-inch vent stack extends from the top of the lens through the peak of the roof. The original mineral oil lamp was mounted on a circular platform at the center of the lens.

Historical maps and engineering drawings indicate that the shore line was originally quite close to the base of the tower. In 1910 the mineral oil lamps were changed to incandescent oil vapor lamps. In 1925 the electric lamps were installed.

The lighthouse now functions as a museum, visit their website here.