1873: The Start of Construction on a Lighthouse in the Garden State

November 8, 1873

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) began construction on a lighthouse on Hereford Inlet in the borough of Anglesea (now the city of North Wildwood) in southern New Jersey. The Hereford Inlet Light was built to replace a life-saving station that had been installed at that location only a couple of years earlier. With shipwrecks on the rise along the Atlantic coast during this time, the U.S. Life Saving Service noted in an annual report that a lighthouse “is respectfully recommended for this place, as it would be of importance to the coal trade and to steamers navigating the Delaware Bay and River, and to mark the entrance to the inlet, where there is a good harbor of refuge for small coasting vessels.”

In June 1872, Congress authorized funding for the construction of the Hereford Inlet Light. The following month, Humphrey S. Cresse sold a 1.5-acre (0.61-hectare) portion of his property on Hereford Inlet to the federal government so that a lighthouse could be built there.

The Hereford Inlet Light was designed by Paul J. Pelz. (He was a prolific architect, and the numerous structures that he designed during his career included not only lighthouses and life-saving stations but also the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.) USACE completed its work on the Hereford Inlet Light on March 30, 1874.

This lighthouse was decommissioned in 1964, when the United States Coast Guard (USCG) built an automated skeletal tower in that vicinity to serve instead as a navigational aid. In 1986, however, the light from that tower was transferred to the Hereford Inlet Light for use. The lighthouse has remained in operation ever since. It continues to be maintained by USCG.

Photo Credit: Public Domain

For more information on the Hereford Inlet Light, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hereford_Inlet_Light

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