Navesink Highlands Lighthouse . New Jersey . Watercolor . 12" x 16"
... When I first saw this lighthouse, I was convinced it had once been a fortress. I was wrong of course... but it is a formidable looking collection of stone masonry. Predating this structure... an early pair of cylindrical towers and a keeper's house had been erected in 1828. In 1841, both towers were raised 9 feet for the installation of a pair of Fresnel lenses. A first order fixed lens was located in the north tower and a second order, revolving light in the south. By 1857, the original towers were near collapse and architect Joseph Lederle was commisioned to design a new facility. His monumental brownstone structure was built with the keeper's house centered between an octagonal north tower and a square tower at the south end. Wings between the house and bookend towers contained shops and service facilities. In 1898 a massive bivalve lens powered by an electric arc lamp was fitted into the south tower, making it the most brilliant light in the United States and visible 22 miles out to sea. Three months later, due to the overwhelming brilliance of the south arc light, the north light was considered irrelevant and turned off. Navesink lighthouse was completely turned off in 1949, decommissioned in 1951 and currently... is a museum.
Anyway... so now I'm convinced Lederle was a chess player... and these two towers are his Rooks.