|Conover Beacon, NJ|
Description: The Conover Beacon, when aligned with the Chapel Hill Rear Range Lighthouse that stands on a hill one a half mile to the south, served to guide vessels along the Chapel Hill Channel. This channel runs from just off the tip of Sandy Hook south into Sandy Hook Bay towards the town of Leonardo.
In his book, New Jersey Coast and Pines, Gustav Kobbe described the Conover Beacon as it appeared in 1889:
To one with an eye for the picturesque this graceful red and white tower, 55 feet high, on a low sandy point surrounded by a ledge–a beautiful foreground against the blue sea beyond–forms a very interesting combination of effects.
The Conover/Chapel Hill Range Lights were discontinued in July of 1923, when gas-lighted buoys were used to mark the channel formerly served by the range lights. Four months later, the range lights were reactivated as tugboat captains complained that "the ranges were absolutely necessary to counteract the side drift of the current through the channels."
The current tower, which resembles a submarine periscope, replaced the hexagonal tower in 1941. Before being relocated to Leonardo, the metal tower served as the front light of the Waackaack (way-cake) Range. The tower’s former location was just over four miles west along the shore at Point Comfort in Keansburg, where it was also known as the Point Comfort or Bayside Beacon.
The tower is now inactive, and its base is protected by a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire. In 2004, the tower was transferred to Monmouth County for management by Middletown Township. The Friends of Conover Beacon Society is being formed to help restore the endangered tower.
Located in the town of Leonardo. The lighthouse is owned by Monmouth County. Grounds open, tower closed.
The lighthouse is owned by Monmouth County. Grounds open, tower closed.
Notes from a friend:Kraig writes:
An informational sign near the Conover Beacon displays information on beach erosion. According to the sign, "erosion caused the Conover Range Lighthouse, formerly located to the east, to fall into the water." Groins have been placed perpendicular to the beach and the longshore current to still the water and allow the suspended sand particles to be deposited on Leonardo Beach. This preventive measure should protect the present inactive Conover Beacon from erosion. Who will maintain the beacon in the future is now the more critical question.
See our List of Lighthouses in New Jersey
Pictures on this page copyright Kraig Anderson, used by permission.