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Sandy Hook Lighthouse

Sandy Hook Light
Source: Wikipedia Commons - NOAA Library

Jutting sharply into lower new New York Harbor is the Sandy Hook peninsula. Described in the 1700's by Englishman Thomas Pownall as stretching from the foot of the "Nave-sinks" highlands "for about 4 miles to the right or northward of this highland (is) a neck of low sandy hills covered with cedars and holly, ending in a low sandy point..."

Ships entering the harbor had to carefully navigate a narrow, curving channel around the tip of Sandy Hook. Numerous shipwrecks on unseen sandbars and shoals raised the cry for a lighthouse to be built. In 1764 the original lighthouse was lit for the first time on the tip of Sandy Hook.

After the Revolutionary war, New York and New Jersey battled over ownership of the lighthouse, and the ships tonnage revenues which were collected for maintainence. The new Federal government stepped in, and the federal government took over ownership of the lighthouse in 1790.

Originally standing just 500 feet from the tip of Sandy Hook, ocean currents have forced sand up the coast, so that today it stands 1.5 miles from the tip of the peninsula. The lighthouse was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1964. It's current fixed lens can be seen for nineteen miles, and is maintained by the Coast Guard.

Sandy Hook is part of Gateway National Recreation Area.

For further information:
Gateway National Recreation Area
PO Box 530
Fort Hancock, NJ 07732

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