East Point Lighthouse
Maurice River Township, NJ
Where the Maurice River meets the Delaware Bay, southwest of Heislerville
Under restoration by the Maurice River Historical Society
The East Point Lighthouse has played an important part in the maritime history of the Maurice River area of Cumberland County, New Jersey. Originally known as the Maurice River Lighthouse, it was erected in 1849 by the United States Lighthouse Establishment. The present name was initiated in 1913. Throughout the years its guiding light has shown fisherman, oystermen, and recreational boaters the way into the mouth of the Maurice River. During the daylight hours, it has been used as a landmark by hunters, trappers, and surveyors.
Although numerous lighthouses once stood along the edge of the Delaware Bay, East Point is the last one remaining on the Jersey side. In fact, it is the second oldest lighthouse standing in New Jersey (only the Sandy Hook Lighthouse of 1764 is older). The lantern room offers a panoramic view of the surrounding land and water and is a favorite subject of photographers and painters alike.
The US Coast Guard operated the East Point Light from 1939 until 1941 when the light was extinguished due to the beginning of the war. In 1956 the property was deeded to the New Jersey Division of Fish, Game, and Wildlife. Over the years the vacant structure suffered greatly from vandalism and weather. In early 1971 a group of concerned local citizens formed the Maurice River Historical Society with the goal of saving the historic building from destruction. In July of that year, an incident occurred which nearly doomed the lighthouse; a trespasser in the building caused a fire which destroyed the roof and the lantern room.
Through the mid 1970's, funded only by local fundraising and donations, determined members of the Maurice River Historical Society succeeded in rebuilding the roof and lantern room. Then on July 2, 1980 at public request, the US Coast Guard reinstalled a beacon in the structure and put the East Point Lighthouse back on the list of active navigational aids.
The Society holds its annual Open House at the lighthouse each Septemmber. For more information please see Cumberland County Cultural & Heritage Commission calendar of events.