Cross Ledge Lighthouse
Part of the Lost Lighthouses of New Jersey Series
Following the successful placement of a screw-pile lighthouse atop Brandywine Shoal, engineers attempted to build a similar structure on Cross Ledge, also in Delaware Bay. Ice floes destroyed the foundation before the superstructure could be put in place, and the effort to mark the ledge was abandoned. Some twenty years afterward, maritime officials decided to try again, but this time the lighthouse was built on an ice-proof foundation of solid granite. Having put in place a granite pier weighing many tons, workmen built atop it a two-story, wooden dwelling with a mansard roof. At the very top, some 58 feet above the water, was a lantern room containing a fourth-order Fresnel lens. During World War II, military planes used it for target practice by dropping flour sack markers onto it! Much controversy surrounds the last stages and final demise of the badly deteriorated Cross Ledge Light. Finally, in 1962, the US Coast Guard burned it down to the granite base - which is all that remains today - a sad ending for a once beautiful lighthouse!