Barnegat Light History Is Subject on Jan. 18 Talk at Lighthouse

By Eric Englund | Jan 13, 2020

Barnegat Light, NJ — The Friends of the Barnegat Lighthouse lecture series continues on Saturday, Jan. 18, at the Barnegat Lighthouse State Park visitors center with a talk on the history of Barnegat Light. The speaker is Reilly P. Sharp, who is vice president of the Barnegat Light Historical Society and curator of the Barnegat Light Museum. He is the fourth generation of his family to summer in Barnegat Light, at least some of the time on East 23rd Street.

Showcasing some of the Barnegat Light Museum’s collection of nearly 3,000 rare images, Sharp will discuss his new book Barnegat Light, from Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series.

“At the mouth of Barnegat Inlet, Native Americans, whalers, pirates, fishermen, and revolutionaries once lazed, fished, fought, and died on Barnegat Light’s sands before modern progress and big-city developers tried to build the next Atlantic City,” the publishers wrote. “Treacherous shoals just offshore claimed the lives of thousands of immigrants seeking new starts in America before the current lighthouse was designed in 1856 by the later victorious general of Gettysburg, George Meade. The Ashley House, one of the first shore resort hotels in the country, went up in 1821. In the 1880s, Benjamin Archer and William Bailey of Camden built bigger hotels, cottages, and roads in town, even bringing the railroad. Barnegat Light never became a bustling tourist town like her developers dreamed, but a close-knit community of fishermen, lifesavers and their families have endured for generations to call the still small town of Barnegat Light home.”

Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing at the conclusion of the presentation.

For more information, call the park at 609-494-2016 or visit friendsofthebarnegatlighthouse.org. —E.E.

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