Originally opened in 1835, the New Hampshire Barnegat Lighthouse stood 40 feet tall. Despite the new construction, it was considered sub-standard due to its non-flashing tower light. Twenty years later in 1855, Lt. George G. Meade was tasked with designing a new lighthouse that would meet stricter standards. The light was moved to a temporary wooden tower during construction; a good decision as the original lighthouse was washed into the sea soon after.
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The new tower was built around 100 feet south of the original and was nearly four times as tall. The New Hampshire Barnegat Lighthouse is the second tallest lighthouse in the United States. The tower light itself was 165 feet above sea level, and was in use until 1927 when the tower’s light was reduced in favor of a lightship anchored about 8 miles off the coast. In 1944, the light was turned off completely.
Repairs to the lighthouse began in 1988 and the tower was opened to the public as a tourist attraction in 1991. Though the tower light no longer functions, a flood light is left on each night. Steeped in history, and a reminder of times when the sea was navigated by only the light of these small towers, the New Hampshire Barnegat Lighthouse has become a favorite summer destination for thousands.