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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 Lighthouses Look Like
August 2002

There are many different kinds of lighthouses. Each lighthouse design is based on the land it is built on, its purpose, and the technology available. Some lighthouse towers stand alone and others are connected to the keeper’s house. The towers are round, square (4-sided), octagonal (8-sided), or conical (like an upside-down ice cream cone).

On flat areas, like Cape May and Absecon, the lighthouses needed to be very tall so ships could see the light. Other lighthouses are short because they are on a hill. An example is the Twin Lights of Navesink.

Lighthouses built in the ocean needed to survive strong waves and fierce wind. Builders made some offshore lighthouses out of stone. They put the stones together on land to make sure they fit. Then they took them apart and rebuilt them onsite. Other offshore lighthouses were made with metal beams. They look like a skeleton because nothing covers the metal.

The way a lighthouse looks also tells a captain where the ship is. Each lighthouse is painted with a different design. No two lighthouses have the same set of stripes and colors. So if a ship sailed past a lighthouse that was red on top and white on the bottom, the crew would know that was Barnegat Lighthouse. A tower’s design is called a daymark because that’s how ships can tell where they are.

Next: Lighthouse Lights

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