Nearly 260 years of service …
Sandy Hook Lighthouse
Call it the Jersey Shore’s noblest outpost. At once majestic and mighty, it’s a tribute to commerce and continuity — still shining two and a half centuries after it was first lit.
Built as a navigational aid to the world’s greatest natural seaport (New York Harbor), the lighthouse on Sandy Hook first opened in June 1764. Today, it is America’s longest working seaside sentinel. Isaac Conro, a New York City stonemason, designed the sturdy structure.
“Captain” Samuel Jewell was the longest-serving Lighthouse Keeper (from 1885 to 1909). John Seward was the first Keeper and Hugo Carlson the last in 1941. Over the years, Keepers lived in five different quarters, the last one built in 1883.
Visible from 19 miles out at sea, it stands 85-feet high and is made of stone (rubblestone and brick). The lighted octagonal tower has “outlasted all its contemporaries to become the oldest standing and operating lighthouse in the United States,” according to the National Park Service.
“Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.”
According to NPS history, a group of wealthy New York merchants financed the construction — known first as the “New York Lighthouse.” It was the fifth lighthouse ever built in the American colonies. Today, it’s maintained by the US Coast Guard and operates 24/7. Public tours are available starting in the Spring. For more information, visit the NPS website on the lighthouse — HERE.
• More Sandy Hook Photos — HERE
Lighthouse Photos …
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, 1790. An investigation by the US Congress in 1852 named it one of the three best-built lighthouses of the 350+ nationwide.
“The High Land of Never-sink and Sandy Hook Light House,” 1814 (US Navy Photo).
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, Scribner’s Monthly September 1879.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, 1890s.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, 1940s (US Army Photo).
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, April 2023.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, 2021. At left is the last of several keeper’s quarters through the years — this one was built in 1883.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse painting by Geri Gray.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse on a rainy fall day, November 2022.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse (Infrared), May 2023 (Alexander Bonilla Photo).
Standing Tall — Sandy Hook Lighthouse and beyond, 1970s. Across the bay in the background is the “Eastpointe” high-rise in Highlands. Opened in June 1975, the 14-story, 166-unit condo rests at the Atlantic seaboard’s highest natural point. Built by Snyder-Westerlin Corp of Middletown and financed by GE Credit Corp (units started at $36,000 then), it was originally called the “Top of the East.”
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, 2020s.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, 2016 (Susan Gardiner Photo).
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, April 2023 (Alexander Bonilla Photo).
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, Autumn 2022. When the lighthouse was first built at the tip of Sandy Hook peninsula it was 500 feet from the water; today it stands about 1.5 miles from the water.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, March 2023 (Fisher A Meg Photo).
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, March 2023 (Joe Hall Photo).
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, March 2023 (Doug Salvatoriello Photo).
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, Winter 2023 (Robert Booth Photo).
Sandy Hook Lighthouse at dawn, February 2023 (David Kaston Photo).
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, February 2023 (Kelly DiCapua Photo).
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, March 2023 (HDK Photography).
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, Winter 2023 (Cathy Pepin-Toussaint Photo).
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, Winter 2023 (John A. DeSantis, Jr. Photo).
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, 1950s.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, 2022.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse painting by Edward Moran, 1876. American lighthouses burned whale oil for illumination until 1822 when Augustin Fresnel of France introduced a glass lens to revolutionized the process, according to the NPS. The lens came to Sandy Hook in 1857.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, January 2023. The US Coast Guard gave ownership of the lighthouse to the NPS in 1995.
Who’s Taller? — Sandy Hook Lighthouse just above Officer’s Row houses, January 2023 (Roberta Staples Cartwright Photo).
Looks are everything — Sandy Hook Lighthouse, December 2022 (William Ponder Photo).
From Way Up — Greater New York harbor area. This contemporary satellite image shows the geographic and strategic importance of Sandy Hook and a lighthouse.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, 2021 (Steven Markos Photo).
Sandy Hook Lighthouse interior, 2023 (Stanley Kosinski Photo). It’s about 100 steps to the top.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, February 2023 (Jill Reihing Photo)
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, 2006. America’s first ever lighthouse was Boston Light on Little Brewster Island, opened in 1716.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, Winter 2020 (Susan Sandlass Gardiner Photo).
Sandy Hook Lighthouse at dawn, January 2023. The New Jersey Lighthouse Society — HERE.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, 1937. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in June 1964 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in October 1966.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse painting.
For all Seasons — Sandy Hook Lighthouse, 2000s (Stanley Kosinski Photo).
Fall Splendor — Sandy Hook Lighthouse, 2009.
Leave a Light On — Sandy Hook Lighthouse, 2016 (Stanley Kosinski Photo).
Sandy Hook Lighthouse painting, 1980s. The lighthouse was automated in 1938.
Another Day Done — Sandy Hook Lighthouse at sunset, 2017. The British captured the lighthouse in 1776 and held it to the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, 2022. The grounds for the lighthouse were acquired from Robert Hartshorne in May 1762 — 4 acres of “barren, sandy soil” for 750 pounds.
Still Works — Sandy Hook Lighthouse (r) in operation at night, August 2021 (Eric Thacke Photo).
Fatigue Figure — Sandy Hook Lighthouse painted in camouflage during World War II, 1942.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, 2017.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, 1990. US stamp conceptual artwork by Howard H. Koslow for lighthouse commemorative.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, 25¢ US postage stamp, 1990 (Richard Elwert Photo).
“On Sandy Hook” sketch, 1880.
Gateway National Recreation Area, Sandy Hook, NJ, 2014.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse & Old Glory — Happy Birthday America, July 2022 (Stanley Kosinski Photo).
The Sandy Hook Foundation — HERE.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, Spring 2022.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse at dusk, Spring 2022.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse drawing. In 1899, the Sandy Hook Lighthouse became the first in the nation to be powered by electricity.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, 1885.
Total Picture — the North Jersey Shore, 2000s. Giovanni da Verrazzano first explored the New York Harbor-Sandy Hook area in April 1524.
“Main Lighthouse, Sandy Hook: Southwest View” by Franklin Patterson, 1879. The artist’s brother Charles was the lighthouse keeper. MCHA eMuseum.
Sandy Hook Bay, 2020 (Stansphotos.com). The lighthouse is a part of the Gateway National Recreational Area — a National Park in New Jersey.
“Hook Look” from January 2022 (Sheila Evans Photo).
Sandy Hook, 1982.
Sandy Hook aerial image, 2018 (Gary Slawsky Photo). The old US Army Officer’s Row along Sandy Hook Bay included 18 large buff-brick houses built along Hartshorne Drive from 1898-1899.
From the Lighthouse on Sandy Hook to One World Trade Center in Lower Manhatten, 2021 (Buddy Smith Photo).
Sandy Hook Lighthouse keeps watch on Officer’s Row, 2021. For 75 years, Fort Hancock served as the primary defense for New York City — then America’s largest metro area and top port.
Army Life — Fort Hancock filling station, built in 1936. And the all-seeing lighthouse.
US Army Barracks Building and the Lighthouse on Sandy Hook, 1901.
Close enough to tough — the modern NYC skyline seen from Sandy Hook, June 2022 (Randall Tomes Photo). In September 1609, Henry Hudson, a British explorer working for the Dutch, anchored his ship the Half-Moon in Sandy Hook Bay.
• Images of Sandy Hook — HERE
• Sandy Hook: Let It Be — HERE