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Bergen Point Lighthouse

Nov. 12, 2019
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Bergen Point Lighthouse, Newark Bay, New Jersey

BERGEN POINT LIGHT

Location: Newark Bay Station Established: 1849 Year Current Tower First Lit: 1849 Operational: Automated: Deactivated: 1949 Foundation Materials: caisson foundation Construction Materials: Tower Shape: rectangular Height: 54’ Markings/Pattern: Relationship to Other Structure: sits atop the keeper’s quarters Original Lens: Height of Focal Plane: Appropriation: $4,969.78

Historical Information:

  • Dwelling sat on a 60 foot diameter caisson
  • Dwelling had 6 rooms and was 2 ½ stories tall

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  • Fell into disrepair by 1855.
  •  In 1857, work began on rebuilding the lighthouse. Improvements cost approximately $20,000. Work was completed in 1859.
  • In 1873, a large machine-made fog bell replaced a smaller bell made by hand.
  • The station was decommissioned in 1949 due to the widening of the Kill Van Kill. The point of land on which the lighthouse stood was to be cut off from the point. The light was eventually torn down and replaced by a skeleton tower.

Light Keepers:

  • Peter Girth: Appointed keeper on June 30, 1853 and received a salary of $400 per year. Removed from office on October 17, 1862.
  • John McDonald: Appointed keeper on Oct. 17, 1863. Paid $540 per year. Listed as passing on July 16, 1873.
  •  Hannah McDonald: Took over her husband’s duties on Aug. 19, 1873. Resigned in Jan. 1879 and was replaced by John H. McDonald (presumed to be her son).
  •  John McDonald: Appointed acting keeper on Jan. 28, 1879. Paid $540 per year. Permanently appointed on Feb. 14, 1881 and served until May 17, 1881, when he resigned.
  •  George V. Post: Appointed acting keeper on May 17, 1881. $540 per year salary. Officially appointed on May 17, 1881. Permanently appointed on Nov. 2, 1881. Served until removed on Aug, 22, 1882.
  • Alexander Ferreira: Appointed acting keeper on Aug. 25, 1882. Became permanent on Dec. 1, 1882. Transferred to Throgg’s Neck Lighthouse, NY in May 29, 1884.
  • John J. Prentiss; Appointed on May 29, 1884, took oath of office on Aug. 1, 1888. Served until Aug. 31, 1888 (unconfirmed) and resigned the post.
  • Joseph Coons: Appointed active keeper on Sept. 7, 1888 with a salary of $540 per year. Appointed permanently on March 15, 1889. Served in the Navy. Transferred on Jan. 16, 1902.
  • Robert Ray: born in Ireland. Appointed in January 24, 1902, took oath of office on February 4, 1902. On February 15, 1902, listed as “drowned”.
  • Mrs. Francis Kelly: appointed acting keeper on March 14, 1902, retroactively to February 15, 1902. Listed as serving 30 days.
  • August Kjelberg: appointed keeper March 31, 1902, took oath April 22, 1902.
  • Jno. R. Carlsson: appointed March 16, 1906, took oath of office March 21, 1906. Received annual salary of $540.
  • Hans Beuthe: immigrated from Germany in 1898. Keeper from 1921 to at least 1939.

Researched and written by Jamie Smith, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.