TWIN LIGHTS OF NAVESINK
LIGHT STATION NAMED NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK
(06/62) HIGHLANDS - Recognizing its significant
role in commerce and navigation for more than 120 years, Department
of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson announced
the designation of the Twin Lights of Navesink Light Station in
Highlands, Monmouth County, as a National Historic Landmark.
"Twin Lights stands today as a reminder of the important role
lighthouses played in the maritime history of this country,"
Commissioner Jackson said. "Sites like this inspire us to protect
and preserve our precious historic resources. A ballot question
in next week's general election provides us with an opportunity
to help protect all of our state historic sites, parks and wildlife
On Nov. 7, New Jersey voters will consider a constitutional amendment
that would provide a dedicated source of funding - $15 million a
year until 2015 and $32 million annually beginning in 2016 - for
maintenance and capital improvements at state parks, historic sites
and wildlife areas.
Without requiring any new taxes, Ballot Question 2 would allow
revenues already generated through the Corporate Business Tax Fund
to be used for maintenance and capital improvement projects. If
voters reject the proposal, these needed projects will receive minimal
or no state funding.
Fewer than 2,500 sites bear the National Historic Landmark designation,
which recognizes places that "possess exceptional value or
quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United
States.'' As a National Historic Landmark, the light station joins
the ranks of places such as Mount Vernon, Sandy Hook Lighthouse
and the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor.
Six new wayside exhibits funded by a federal Recreation Trails
grant also were unveiled today. The exhibits provide information
about the lighthouse, Marconi's wireless, the U.S. Life-Saving Service,
and the powerhouse used in the production of electricity for the
The U.S. Secretary of the Interior designates National Historic
Landmarks only after careful study by the National Park Service,
extensive public involvement and review, and recommendation by the
National Park System Advisory Board.
The first lighthouse began operations in 1828 as Navesink Lightstation.
The current brownstone towers, situated atop the Navesink Highlands,
200 feet above sea level, were constructed in 1862. They guided
vessels to the United States' busiest port - New York Harbor - until
they were shut down in 1949 as manned lighthouses became obsolete.
Architect Joseph Lederle designed the new structure with two non-identical
towers linked by the keepers' quarters and storage rooms. The dissimilar
towers made it easy for seafarers to distinguish Twin Lights from
other lighthouses during the day. At night, the beacons, one flashing
and one fixed, provided another distinguishing navigational aid.
The light station has the distinction of being the first in the
United States to test several important lighthouse technologies,
including the revolutionary Fresnel lens, the use of mineral oil
for lamps, and an electric-arc bivalve lens that was nine feet in
In 1899, Guglielmo Marconi used the light station for the first
demonstration of the wireless telegraph and it became the nation's
first wireless station capable of transmitting and receiving messages
on a regular commercial basis.
Radar and other electronic technologies developed at nearby Fort
Monmouth and used to fight World War II were tested at the light
The State of New Jersey acquired Twin Lights from the Borough
of Highlands in 1962, and opened it as a historic site that year.
Today, visitors can tour the lighthouse, climb the North Tower for
breathtaking views, visit the exhibit gallery, and learn about bivalve
lens on display in the generator building. The lighthouse North
Tower, museum, gift shop, and other buildings are open daily 10
a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Memorial Day through Labor Day, and Wednesday
through Sunday 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. the remainder of the year. The
grounds are open 9 a.m. until sunset. The area is closed New Year's
Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Twin Lights Station is listed on the State and National Registers
of Historic Places.
To learn more about Ballot Question #2, visit www.njsos.org