Tucker's Island Lighthouse To Shine Again On New Year's Day

Replica of Tucker's Island Lighthouse at the Tuckerton Seaport
Replica of Tucker's Island Lighthouse at the Tuckerton Seaport
by Patricia A. Miller

It's been nearly 87 years since the Tucker's Island Lighthouse toppled into the sea during a storm in October 1927

Today not only lighthouse is gone, but so is Tucker's Island. The tiny Tucker's Beach community exists only in memory. The island lies under the ocean, off the southern shore of Long Beach Island.

But on New Year's Day, the light at the Tuckerton Seaport's replica of the lighthouse will flash again, in honor of the New Jersey's 350th anniversary.

There are a variety of events planned, which will run from 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the seaport at 120 West Main Street in Tuckerton, according to the seaport's website at www.tuckertonseaport.org.

There will be programs about the history of Tucker's Island, the Ryder family, who tended to the lighthouse, a U.S. Life Saving Service beach apparatus drill and activities for children.

Tucker's Island disappeared slowly, subject to winds and tides that eventually cut an inlet in 1920.

"Foot by foot, Tucker's Island was being erased," according to an account at www.lighthousefriends.com. "One by one, hotels and houses were washed away."

Paul Rider, the nephew of keeper Arthur Rider, witnessed the lighthouse fall and shot its demise in a sequence of pictures, the website states.

"I slept in the old lighthouse…, camera in hand, the night before she toppled," Rider wrote. "The government had officially abandoned her some weeks before and we knew she could go any minute. Earlier storms had broken and undermined the foundation and the sands around it were constantly being washed away.”

But the ocean wasn't finished with Tucker's Island. The Coast Guard Station was lost in 1935, followed by the schoolhouse in 1938. The last vestige of Tucker's Island was gobbled up by the sea in 1952, according to lighthouse.com.

Six members of the Rider family tended to the lighthouse during its existence. Visitors to the seaport can meet with Rider relatives on New Year's Day.

For more information about New Year's Day program, contact the seaport at the website or call 609-296-8868.


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