16. Sandy Hook Lighthouse

The Sandy Hook Lighthouse in New Jersey is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse in the United States. Serving as the entryway into New York Harbor, the lighthouse was built in 1764 on Sandy Hook, a stretch of land which juts out dangerously (for ships) into the Atlantic Ocean.

In order to help pay for the purchase of land and construction of the lighthouse a lottery was held. 10,000 tickets were but the profit didn’t raise enough money to fun entire project. It did however allow for the purchase of four acres on Sandy Hook from its current owners at the time, Esik and Richard Hartshorne. A second lottery raise the remaining funds. Since New Yorkers were the ones to raise the money, it was originally called the New York Lighthouse.

The Sandy Hook Lighthouse was designated as a National Historic Landmark on its bicentennial in 1964 and transferred to the National Park Service in 1996. In 2014 it underwent a restoration and is open to the public for tours. Because of shifting sands, the lighthouse now sits more than a half mile inland from its original spot, and interesting reversal of shore erosion.