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Absecon Lighthouse Turns 155 Years Old

Absecon Lighthouse
Photo: Townsquare Media's Tom McNally

With all of the high rise buildings and casino towers now surrounding it — including the new 710 foot-tall Revel — it’s easy to overlook the Absecon Lighthouse in Atlantic City, which turned 155 years old yesterday.

The story of the Absecon Lighthouse began back in 1854 when the United States government purchased the land where the lighthouse sits for a mere $520. Construction began in 1855; the beacon at the top was first lit on January 15, 1857, and was visible almost 22 miles out to sea. In July, 1933, the lighthouse was decommissioned and went dark. It wasn’t until 1963 that the light was turned back on. To give you an idea of the height of the lighthouse versus the casinos around it, the picture at the top of this page was taken by Cat Country chief engineer Tom McNally from the roof of the Trump Taj Mahal, looking down on it.

The Absecon Lighthouse is New Jersey’s tallest (it’s about 12 feet taller than the Cape May Light) and the third tallest in the nation. And yes, for a small fee, you can climb the 228 steps to the top and catch quite a view of Atlantic City. It’s a unique way to see all of the casinos that now dot the landscape from something that was part of the city over a century before slot machines were everywhere.

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