assistantkeepers2

Marker is located on S Vermont Avenue, next to the Absecon Lighthouse.

Marker text:
When Absecon Lighthouse was first lit in 1857, a principal keeper and assistant keeper lived on site with their families. The dwelling for an assistant keeper was built during the original Lighthouse construction. Interior alterations in 1887 converted the building to accommodate two assistant keepers and their families. Further exterior alterations were completed in 1893, giving the two families more space and privacy. The assistant keepers’ dwelling was demolished in the 1940s, along with the principal keeper’s dwelling.

The assistant keepers are crowded in a building about 25 feet square, so planned that it is impossible to have any privacy. From this cause, during the heat of summer, the keepers are subject to great inconvenience and discomfort. Another building should be erected at this station so that the keepers can live with their families in at least as much comfort as can be had by skilled workmen in cities.

A keeper’s dwelling sufficient for their accommodation can be erected for $4,000, and it is recommended that an appropriation of this amount be made for that purpose.
The Annual Report of the Lighthouse Board, 1891


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Chronology


1854

After a decade of prompting from Jonathan Pitney, the “father of Atlantic City,” the U.S. Congress appropriated $35,000 to build a lighthouse on Absecon Island.

December 5, 1854
The Camden and Atlantic Land Co. transferred the land for the lighthouse to the U.S. government for the sum of $520.

1855
Construction began under the direction of Major Hartman Bache from the Corps of Topographical Engineers of the Army. Bache was replaced by Lieutenant George Gordon Meade, who later commanded the Union Army at the Battle of Gettysburg.

1856
An additional $17,436.62 was appropriated to finish the project. The final cost was $52,436.62.

January 15, 1857
Absecon Lighthouse was first lit on this date. Its first-order Fresnel lens was manufactured by the Parisian firm of Sautter & Cie and was illuminated by Funck’s mineral oil lamps. The beam could be seen nearly 20 miles out at sea.

1876
At the time it was built, Absecon Lighthouse was 1200 feet from the ocean. Beach erosion in the years that followed brought the water onto the edges of the Lighthouse grounds. The construction of jetties in the 1870s successfully reversed this process, eventually leaving the Lighthouse in about the same relationship to the water as it was originally.

1910
The first incandescent oil vapor lamps were used in the Lighthouse.

July 1, 1925
Electricity was first used for the beacon.

July 11, 1933
Absecon Lighthouse was decommissioned and the light was extinguished.

1954
The lantern was lit for a brief period for Atlantic City’s centennial celebration.

1962
A small visitors’ center was constructed at the base of the tower.

December 31, 1963
Governor Richard Hughes relit the lens for the first time in 25 years for New Jersey’s Tercentenary year.

September 11, 1970
Absecon Lighthouse was placed on New Jersey’s Register of Historic Places.

January 25, 1971
Absecon Lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

1988
The Inlet Public/Private Association (IPPA) was formed, adopting Absecon Lighthouse as its logo to signify the rebirth of the Inlet section of Atlantic City.

1994
IPPA formally adopted Absecon Lighthouse and funded a Historic Structure Report (HSR), leading to the tower’s ultimate restoration.

1995
Sara Cureton was hired as Executive Director for the Lighthouse, filling the position of Lightkeeper for the first time since 1933.

1997
Restoration of the tower began in May. Reconstruction of the Keeper’s Dwelling began shortly thereafter.

1999
IPPA opened the historic tower to visitors while construction continued on the Keeper’s Dwelling.

2001

The Keeper’s Dwelling was completed and opened to the public.