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LBI's Barnegat Lighthouse Turns 160 Years Old This Year

BARNEGAT LIGHT, N.J. (CBS) – There's a spot in LBI that attracts people from all over the world not only for its incredible views but also for the history it holds. The Barnegat Lighthouse turns 160 years old this year.

Referred to as Old Barney, the lighthouse can be found on the northern tip of LBI, preserved in the Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. In 2018, 77,651 people went up the lighthouse's 217 steps to see the incredible views firsthand.

"When visitors come here the first thing they want to do is climb the lighthouse and get the panoramic view of the whole island. We have fisherman here all the time," said volunteer Michael Banks. "Even watching the boats go in and out it's a very peaceful place to be."

barnegat lighthouse
(Credit: CBS3)

Michael and Charlotte Banks are part of the 501©3 organization, Friends of the Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. The organization hosts a number of events for visitors including Lighthouse Night Climbs, Concerts, Campfire Nights, etc. The group also operates the newly renovated Interpretive Center on the grounds of Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, adjacent to the lighthouse.

The Interpretive Center houses artifacts and history of the area. "The information on the walls really give the history and the need for Barnegat Lighthouse. Why we needed a Lighthouse in this area. This is a very dangerous part of the inlet because as the sands shift out of the inlet, it creates sandbars or shoals," said Charlotte Banks.

It was once referred to as the Graveyard of the Atlantic. Before the lighthouse was built in 1859, the area saw a record number of shipwrecks. Around 40 wrecks a year.

(Credit: CBS3)

"That's why we needed to have a lighthouse," recalled Michael. "The lighthouses are no longer really necessary but it's part of our history. The past that we have to keep."

Charlotte says what makes the lighthouse so special to her is, "the people who come here. The people who come with their stories or the people who come here for the first time. It's always something new." Charlotte continued, "the lighthouse gives a sense of hope and guides people home. Or welcomes them to a new area. That's what makes it special to me."

There is no charge to come explore Barnegat Lighthouse State Park but there is a fee to climb the lighthouse, $3 for adults and $1 for children.

For more information on events at the lighthouse, visit

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