Constructed in 1855-1856, like Barnegat under the direction of Lieut. George G. Meade, Absecon (Ab-SEE-kun) Lighthouse stands at the northern end of Absecon Island (Atlantic City) and threw its light out over the Atlantic Ocean until 1933. The tallest lighthouse in New Jersey (although there is a longstanding dispute of the matter with Barnegat), Absecon is the third tallest in country. Due to the filling in of land north and east of the lighthouse, it now stands several blocks from the shore and is dwarfed by the gambling palaces that begin a short distance away. The middle and right photos show the rebuilt lightkeeper's house; the original had been under restoration when destroyed by fire in 1998. The photo on the right is from the 2012 Challenge, when I made a night climb.
From the top of the lighthouse, one can see the contrasts in Atlantic City, glitzy casinos on the left and empty lots and desolation where houses of the Inlet neighborhood once stood on the right. The city has been attempting to rehabilitate the area with new housing and attractions.
Life Saving Station
During the 19th century, the Coast Guard established life saving stations at three-mile intervals along the New Jersey shore, staffed by volunteers, to rescue passengers and crew of ships that foundered or ran aground near shore. At the Ocean City station, which is being restored, a breeches buoy is on exhibition. This rescue device resembled a modern-day zipline. If a ship was immobilized near land, the breeches buoy would be brought down to the beach. A line would then be shot out to the ship. Attached to the line was the breeches buoy, a metal ring with two cloth leggings attached. Once the line was secured on the ship (it sometimes took several attempts), people on the ship would put their legs into the leggings and, holding onto the metal ring, would be sent back to land, one by one.
Life Saving Station
The Stone Harbor Life Saving Station building now houses the local American Legion Hall. The paintings, which can be seen on the front of the building on the right show the rescuers ready to move the breeches buoy and rescue boat into position to rescue shipwreck victims.