Sandy Hook 的灯塔
The lighthouse was built of rubble, about 500 feet from the tip of the hook. Today, due to the northward expansion of the hook it now stands
about 1 ½ miles from the point.
The lamps installed in the crown were of copper encased in a lantern of ordinary glass. The keeper lived in a stone dweliing beside the tower.
His "contract of service" allowed him the privilege of "keeping and paturing two cows," but also warned him that he should not use the tower
as a "public-house for selling strong liquors."
In order that the lighthouse pay for its upkeep and current expenses a light-duty of three-pence per ton was imposed on shipping using the
channel into New York Harbor. Operating costs of the lighthouse for the first two years of operation averaged £419 per year. The duty levied
on tonnage averaged £451 per year, which would indicate that the lighthouse was a moestly profitable venture, and even more so when you
consider the tonnage and lives that were saved from a watery grave.
The New York lighthouse was frequently a target for lightning, despite the lightning rod on the top of the cupola. An account in the "New York
Mercury" of June 30, 1766, reported that on June 26, 1766:
...the lighthouse at Sandy Hook was struck by Lightning, and twnety panes of the Glass Lanthorn broke to Pieces; The Chimney and Peach
belonging to the Kitchen, was broke down, and some People that were in the House received a little Hurt, but are since recovered. 'Tis said
the Gust was attended with a heavy Shower of Hail.
During the American Revolution the lighthouse became a point of contention between the antagonists. In early 1776 the British fleet was
shortly expected to appear off New York City, prior to the invasion of that city. The New York Congress, on March 4, 1776 resolved to destroy
the light so as not to aid the enemy. On March 6 instructions were issued to Major Malcolm to remove the lens and lamps in secret. A
memorandum from Colonel George Taylor, dated Middleton, March 12, 1776, states, "'Received from Wm. Malcolm, eight copper lamps, two
tackle falls and blocks, and three casks, and a part of a cask of oil, being articles brought from the light- house on Sandy Hook.'"
A British landing party was dispatched to relight the tower using improvised lamps and reflectors. This effort was apparently successful,
because on June 1, 1776, the Americans again tried to douse the light, this time using a pair of six-pounders (cannon) mounted on several
small boats under the command of Captain John Conover. The Americans succeeded in damaging the tower somewhat before being driven
off by an approaching armed vessel.
The Revolutionary War over, the newly formed Federal Government was small enough that President Washington could take a personal
interest in the affairs of individual lighthouses. One of Washington's first official duties was to write a letter to the keeper of the Sandy Hook
lighthouse directing him to keep the light tended until Congress could provide funds for its upkeep.
After the Revolution, the lighthouse again became the focal point between two antagonists, this time between the State of New York and the
State of New Jersey. In 1787, New York passed a law which required all vessels from other states to report at the local customs house where
they were registered and cleared, paying a fee for the privilege. New Jersey retaliated by levying a £30 monthly tax on the Sandy Hook
lighthouse which was still owned by New York. The dispute was defused however, when the Federal Government accepted title to and
jurisdiction over the lighthouses then in existence and provided that "the necessary support, maintenance and repairs of all lighthouses
beacons, buoys, and public piers erected, placed or sunk before the passing of this act, at the the netrance of, or within any bay, inlet, harbor
or port of the United States, for rendering the navigation thereof easy and safe, shall be defrayed out of the treasury of the United States."
The Sandy Hook lighthouse became the first lighthouse in the country to be lit by electric incandescent lamps in 1889. Earlier, in 1886, the
Lighthouse Board experimented with electric arc lamps placed in the torch of the Statue of Liberty, which was used briefly during this time as
an aid to navigation.
In 1964, the lighthouse celebrated its 200th Anniversary. It is the oldest original lighthouse in the country. At a ceremony celebrating this event,
Walter I. Pozen, a New Jersey native and assistant to the Secretary of the Interior dedicated the lighthouse as a National Historic Landmark
and presented a scroll and plaque to Captain J. H. Wagline, Chief of Staff of the Third Coast Guard District which maintains the light. The
plaque was bolted to the base of the lighthouse.
The lighthouse and surrounding Fort Hancock are part of Gateway National Recreation Area today. The lighthouse is still in active operation
and is equipped with a 3rd order Fresnel lens illuminated by a 1000 watt bulb, and emitting 45,000 candle-power. It is visible 19 miles at sea.
In 1996, the ownership of the lighthouse was transferred from the Coast Guard to the National Park Service.