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Keeper's Dwelling

keepersdwelling1

Marker is located on S Rhode Island Avenue in front of the reconstructed Keeper's Dwelling at Absecon Lighthouse

Marker text:
The light from Absecon Lighthouse first beamed out across the Atlantic Ocean in 1857. At that time, the Lighthouse consisted of the original keeper's dwelling, a thirty-foot connecting passageway and the tower. In 1903, adding a two-story addition to the front, removing the attic and changing the roofline expanded the keeper's dwelling. By 1933, the bright lights and rising skyline of Atlantic City had diminished the beam's effectiveness. The Light was decommissioned. The keeper's dwelling was demolished in the 1940's, leaving the tower and little else to occupy the site. The site has been owned by the State of New Jersey since 1966. The keeper's dwelling was reconstructed on its original foundations. Its exterior replicates the enlarged post-1903 keeper's dwelling, although the interior and certain exterior features were adapted to meet the needs current visitors and staff. It was re-opened to the public in October 2002.

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Lightkeepers of Absecon Lighthouse

Principal Lighthouse Keepers:
Daniel Scull 1856
William Bartlett 1861
John S. Nixon 1865
Abraham G. Wolf 1873
Thomas Bills 1896
Knud Hansen 1914

The life of a keeper was exacting in its demand for strict adherence to routine and responsibility. In addition to the requirements for neatness and sobriety that are typical of any military posting, the keepers were directed to "remain in the watch room and give continuous attention to the light" while on duty, and never leave a lighthouse "wholly unattended." This must have been especially hard for keepers without assistants. They were required to "visit the light at least twice during the night between 8pm and sunrise" and provide constant attention on stormy nights. Should a lone keeper need to leave the lighthouse at any time, it was necessary to find "a competent member of his family, or other responsible person" to be at the station in his absence.

The keeper is responsible for the care and management of the light, and for the station in general. He must enforce a careful attention to duty on the part of his assistants, who are required to observe the orders of the keepers in all matters connected with the duties of the Light-House Establishment. Any disobedience of such orders will be held as a sufficient cause for recommending the discharge of an assistant.

Instructions for Light-Keepers and Masters of Light-House Vessels, By Authority of the Light-House Board, 1902