Everything You Need To Know About The Barnegat Lighthouse

When it comes to Long Beach Island, there is no sight more recognizable than the Barnegat Lighthouse. Sometimes called Old Barney by locals, this historic location is famed throughout the country and gets visitors from all over. Many who stay in Long Beach Island hotels come visit in large part because they want to see the lighthouse.

But how much do you really know about the lighthouse? When you stroll from your LBI hotel and take photos of this historic site, do you know its full history?

Take a stroll through the years with us as we explore the history of Old Barney, aka the Barnegat Lighthouse, aka the most famous historic site on Long Beach Island. Enjoy!

  • Long Beach Island was first settled in at least 1690, when it became a destination for hunters.
  • By the time the 17th Century rolled around, LBI had become a prime location in shipping and whaling boats, especially those out of Barnegat Inlet. This lead to the construction of the Barnegat Lighthouse.
  • The original Barnegat lighthouse was constructed in 1835, and aided boaters through the often turbulent waters of the Barnegat inlet. However, the lighthouse was in a fixed position, causing ship captains to sometimes mistake it for another passing ship. As a result, the original lighthouse was torn down in 1857 and replaced with the current historic structure.
  • Long Beach Island is home to the famous and historic Barnegat Lighthouse, sometimes known locally as Old Barney. The lighthouse stands 165 feet tall.
  • The lighthouse was designed by George G. Meade of the Army Corp. of Engineers, who had previously designed the Ansecon Lighthouse.
  • The existing Barnegat Lighthouse is actually the second in that approximate location. The site of the original lighthouse is now underwater.
  • The current lighthouse is located about 100 feet south of the original light house. Finished in 1857, it is four times taller than the original lighthouse.
  • It’s difficult to tell without going inside, but the Barnegat Lighthouse is actually two towers, one inside the other. A cylindrical tower is surrounded by a second, conical tower.
  • The Barnegat Lighthouse was downgraded from a 1st Class navigational light when the Barnegat Lightship was anchored 8 miles offshore in 1927. However, the lighthouse continued to function. The lightship was removed in 1969.
  • In 1944, the lighthouse ceased operations as a Coast Guard lookout tower.
  • The tower and land it’s on was turned into a state park in 1957, and was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.
  • After a closure for several years, the tower was reopened to visitors in 1991. Some half a million people climb the 217 steps to visit the top of the lighthouse each year.
  • In 2009, the lighthouse activated its beacon for the first time since World War II, utilizing new lighting technology to meet modern standards. The lighthouse still operates to this day.

If you haven’t see the Barnegat Lighthouse, we suggest you book a room at a Long Beach Island hotel and take a long weekend this summer. You’ll love the area, and LBI hotels are very affordable!