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What is a Lighthouse?

What Lighthouses Look Like

Lighthouse Lights

Lighthouse History

Barnegat Lighthouse

Cape May Lighthouse

East Point Lighthouse

Hereford Inlet Lighthouse

Little Egg Harbor (Tucker's Island)

Miah Maull Shoal

Navesink Light (Twin Lights)

Passaic and Bergen Point Lighthouses

Sandy Hook Lighthouse

Sea Girt Lighthouse



Coloring Book Pages (pdf):

Jaypeg Does the Cape May Lighthouse Windows

Zeero Runs the Lighthouse


What is a Lighthouse?
August 2002

A lighthouse is a tower on or near the shore of an ocean, harbor, or river. There is a lantern room on top that holds the lens. This is where the light shines out. The lens shines a bright light to warn ships about dangers like rocks or sandbars. It can also mark the entrance to a river or inlet.

Before electricity, lighthouses needed light keepers. The keepers made sure the lights worked and added fuel to the lamp. They also helped rescue people who were drowning. Light keepers were almost always men. Some lived alone, and some brought their families. Lighthouse keepers were needed until electricity. Electricity made lighthouses automated. This meant they worked by themselves and didn’t need keepers.

The U.S. Coast Guard runs most of the working lighthouses today. They are called active aids to navigation. People also own some lighthouses. These are private aids to navigation. A person or group of people can buy a lighthouse to use.

Next: What Lighthouses Look Like

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