Scenic USA - New Jersey
Hereford Inlet Light Station
|Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Photography
A natural break in the barrier islands of New Jersey's southern shore, which leads into the Intracoastal Waterway, Hereford Inlet was the sight of many shipwrecks and groundings. Its treacherous currents and shifting sandbars lead to the construction of successive life-saving stations and the Hereford Inlet Light Station in 1873.
Following a wood frame residential style, the Lighthouse Board’s lead draftsman, Paul J. Peltz, added a Swiss Carpenter Gothic flair to the design. Peltz's artistic touches were used in four West Coast lighthouses (Point Fermin and East Brother lighthouses are still in existence), while Hereford Light is the only east coast light station of his design.
A survivor of eastern storms for decades, the light station was moved inland to solid ground in 1913. Eventually the need for a lighthouse was minimized and the building was turned over to the New Jersey State Marine Police for a short time. After an 18 year period of neglect, interest in the lighthouse was spearheaded by Mayor Anthony Catanoso and his wife Phyllis. Lighthouse restoration, largely a community effort, lead to the lighthouse being returned as a fully functional navigation aid. Operated and maintained by the Hereford Lighthouse Commission, the lighthouse doubles as a museum. Recent garden landscaping, following early England's cottage style, surrounds the lighthouse. Garden benches, birdbaths, urns and arbors create cozy set of features for this North Wildwood historic landmark.
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