The oldest light tower in the United States (although its height may have changed) is at Sandy Hook,
New Jersey, at the entrance to New York Harbor. Despite the vicissitudes of the Revolution, the
tower survived, still a credit to its builder. In 1838, the lighthouse was found to be in good order,
and in 1852, the Lighthouse Board reported it in a remarkably fine state of preservation with a light
adequate as an entrance light. In addition to the tower, the station had two beacons, and the one
keeper was expected to take care of all three lights. He was given a small sum to hire help, but the
paucity of the amount permitted him to hire only poor quality assistance. The keeper expressed his
independence by lighting and putting out the lamps when he saw fit, usually at dusk and dawn
respectively, not at sunset and sunrise as the fifth auditor instructed.
In 1856, the board placed a third order lens on the tower, where it has remained. Although
threatened by erosion in the 1870's, the octagonal tower has lasted through the years, a
remarkable monument to its builder, Isaac Conro.
Location: Gateway National Recreation Area, Route 36
Directions:Take the Garden State Parkway North or South to exit 117.
East on Route 36 to Sandy Hook.
Visiting Status: Open to public on specific dates
Information: (732) 872-5970
Architects: Issac Conro
Light Operational: Yes
Date Deactivated: N/A
Tower Height: 85 feet
Original Optic: Third Order Fresnel
Present Optic: Third Order Fresnel
An Old Photograph of Sandy Hook.