"Old Barney," the most iconic of New Jersey's lighthouses, stood guard at Barnegat (BAR-nuh-git) Inlet at the northern end of Long Beach Island from its commission on Jan. 1, 1859 until the beacon's power was reduced significantly in 1927 and replaced by the Barnegat Lightship offshore. Completely darkened in 1944, the light was re-activated through the efforts of a private group in 2009 and again operates from dusk to dawn. The center photo is a bust of Gen. George G. Meade, who commanded the Army of the Potomac from the Gettysburg Campaign to the end of the Civil War. As a lieutenant, he supervised the design and construction of the lighthouse. The photo on the left shows one of several jetties constructed to protect the lighthouse against the tides flowing through the inlet between the Atlantic Ocean and Barnegat Bay. On the right, a boat passes the lighthouse on its way to the ocean.
The lighthouse is surrounded by a small state park, which contains a nature walk through a small stand of holly trees, seen in the photo on the right. At one time, the entire 18 miles of Long Beach Island, a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and Barnegat Bay, was covered by holly trees. The other two photos, taken from the top of the lighthouse, look north across Barnegat Inlet to Island Beach State Park and south to the borough of Barnegat Light.
Barnegat Light Museum
The Barnegat Light Museum is housed in the borough's former one-room schoolhouse, in use from 1903 to 1951. It contains memorabilia of the town and the original Fresnel light that illuminated Barnegat Lighthouse.
The original Tucker's Island Lighthouse stood on Tucker's Island, which had been separated from the southern end of Long Beach Island when the ocean cut a new inlet south of Holgate. The island, in the mouth of Little Egg Harbor, attracted tourists and is regarded as the state's first shore resort. Because the first light was inadequate, a new light was installed atop the keeper's house, which burned until a new light was established nearby in September, 1927. Storms and the changing inlet had been encroaching on the island and a month after the light was extinguished, a storm toppled the lighthouse into Little Egg Harbor. A series of dramatic photographs by the keeper's nephew capture the breakup of the lighthouse. Erosion claimed more of the buildings on the island and by 1952, no land was visible above water. The replica pictured above was constructed in conjunction with the Tuckerton Seaport (right), and seaport and lighthouse are maintained as a means of preserving the heritage of Barnegat Bay and the people who lived and worked there.