America’s oldest working lighthouse turns 250

The 250-year old lighthouse sits in the Atlantic Ocean near the entrance to New York Harbor. Photo by Flickr user Shinya Suzuki.

The 250-year old lighthouse sits in the Atlantic Ocean near the entrance to New York Harbor. Photo by Flickr user Shinya Suzuki.

For 250 years the Sandy Hook lighthouse in New Jersey has guided sailors safely in and out of New York Harbor. Its original whale lamps were first lit on June 11, 1764. It survived the Revolutionary War, when it was controlled by the British and attacked by colonists. It survived two world wars — the only time it went dark to prevent enemies from finding New York Harbor. And more recently, it survived the ravages of Hurricane Sandy.


The original Fresnel lens, made in Paris. Photo by Flickr user Bee Collins.

Built out of a granite known as rubblestone, it was shored up in the 1850′s with three feet of brick inside. Now it lights the way for ships with a 1,000 watt bulb, magnified through the prisms of a Fresnel light. The beacon can be seen from 12-miles from the Atlantic Ocean.

The post America’s oldest working lighthouse turns 250 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.