|Tucker's Beach (Replica), NJ|
Description: Reuben Tucker purchased the southern portion of Long Beach Island in 1765, around the time when people from Philadelphia and Burlington County first started regular visits to the Jersey Shore. These early visitors brought their own supplies and would typically set up tents on the beach. Reuben Tucker realized he could make some extra money by offering more comfortable accommodations, and his farmhouse soon doubled as an inn. Following Reubenís death, his widow, ďMammyĒ Tucker, continued the inn-keeping tradition, and it wasnít long before a small community called Tuckerís Beach was established. Mammy Tuckerís Inn was later replaced by the larger Columbia Hotel, and with the addition of the four-story St. Albans Hotel, Tuckerís Beach had become an ocean resort.
In 1855, the lighthouse was fitted with a fourth-order Fresnel lens fabricated by Henry Lepaute of Paris, but the Annual Report of the Lighthouse Board for that same year indicated potential changes at the station. ďWhen the first class light is lit at Absecum, the Tuckerís Beach light will be unnecessary and inconvenient for purposes of general navigation. Indeed it will be of small local importance, as vessels cannot safely enter Little Egg Harbor at night. It will be quite sufficient to reduce it to a small harbor light, perhaps distinguished by a red or green color.Ē The Absecon Lighthouse commenced operation in 1857, and two years later the Tuckerís Beach Lighthouse was discontinued.
Rethinking its drastic move, the Lighthouse Board decided to reestablish Tuckerís Beach Lighthouse in 1867. In 1879, the original lighthouse was converted into an oil shed, and a square tower supporting a lantern room was fitted to the roof of the new, two-story keeperís dwelling. Eber Rider was the first keeper assigned to the lighthouse after it was reestablished, and a string of six other Riders would serve as keeper or assistant keeper after Eber.
Eight years after the lighthouse was lost, the Coast Guard station was claimed by the sea. The schoolhouse followed in 1938, and by 1940 shorebirds were the only residents of the small patch of remaining land. The entire island had disappeared by 1952.
In the 1980s, a group of southern Ocean County sportsmen expressed concern that the old ways of bay life were in danger of extinction. This groupís vision led to the eventual creation of Tuckerton Seaport, where the areaís rich maritime heritage is captured through displays and demonstrations of boat building, decoy carving, and basket weaving. One of the many buildings at the seaport is a re-creation of Tuckerís Island Lighthouse. Located some six miles west of its original location, the lighthouse should be quite safe from the sea. The replica lighthouse looks quite authentic and even houses a Fresnel lens, though not in the lantern room.
Located alongside Route 9 in Tuckerton at the Tuckerton Seaport.
Pictures on this page copyright Kraig Anderson, used by permission.