Q. Who owns the Sea Girt Lighthouse building and is it still functioning as a lighthouse?
A. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1945. The Borough of Sea Girt acquired the building and property in 1956. Since 1981, the Sea Girt Lighthouse Citizens Committee has leased the building and property from the Borough.
Q. What is the Sea Girt Lighthouse Citizens Committee and what does it do?
A. The committee is a non-profit, volunteer organization, consisting of some 450 members and a board of 18 trustees, committed to maintaining the building, preserving and promoting its rich history through tours, lectures and publications, making the building available for special events and raising the funds to continue these efforts.
Q. Is the Sea Girt Lighthouse open for tours?
A. Yes, guided tours are conducted Sundays 2-4 p.m., except holiday weekends, mid-April through the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
Q. Are group tours available?
A. Yes, group tours – popular with scouts, school groups and others – can be arranged year-round by calling the lighthouse, 732-974-0514.
Q. Who runs the tours?
A. Tours are conducted by knowledgeable volunteers, steeped in the history of the lighthouse and its extensive collection of artifacts.
Q. What’s there to see?
A. Visitors will be guided through all rooms of the lighthouse, from the keeper’s office, through the living quarters and into lantern room at the top of the tower. The tour explores the lighthouse, its keepers and family during the U.S. Lighthouse Service era (1896-1939) and the Coast Guard era (1939-54). The display includes the Keepers Gallery of photos, Lighthouse Service correspondence, a keeper’s logbook and lantern, a fourth order Fresnel lens and President Roosevelt’s 1939 order transferring authority for all U.S. lighthouses from the Lighthouse Service to the Coast Guard. There are also artifacts from the Morro Castle disaster and rescue.
Q. Does the lighthouse tour offer any information on the history of Sea Girt?
A. Yes, our exhibit includes artifacts, street maps, and photographs of Sea Girt from bygone days. The Stockton Hotel, Tremont Hotel, governor’s summer residence and the old pavilion are preserved in photos for all to enjoy. Daily life a century ago can be glimpsed in pictures of the Third Avenue trolley, Sea Girt’s shopping district, Big Sea Day celebrations at the beach, and vacationers camping in then extensive pinewoods. There are photos of National Guard troops at Camp Sea Girt, which previously (1850s) was the farm of Commodore Robert Field Stockton, a retired naval hero and former U.S. senator. A founding father of Sea Girt, Stockton called his farm Seagirt, the name later given to the town.
Q. Do you sell lighthouse souvenirs?
A. Yes, we do. We have lighthouse scale models, watercolor prints, and annual numbered and signed photo prints. There are photo postcards and illustrated notepaper. We also offer caps and shirts with the Sea Girt Lighthouse logo and more. Items are for sale at the lighthouse during our Sunday tours. All sale proceeds support the operation of the lighthouse.
Q. Can I hold a party at the lighthouse?
A. The committee encourages the use of the lighthouse by the Sea Girt community. The lighthouse is available to Sea Girt property owners for special events, such as family reunions, engagement showers, and anniversary celebrations.
Q. Is the lighthouse available for meetings?
A. Yes, the lighthouse is available to area civic groups and non-profit organizations for meetings. Groups regularly meeting at the lighthouse include a local garden club, a fishing club, historic preservationists, and an artists group.
Q. How do I reserve the lighthouse for an upcoming event?
A. First, you should request the Sea Girt Lighthouse Use Policies and the Sea Girt Lighthouse Use Application. You may obtain these forms by speaking directly to a trustee. Or call the lighthouse, 732-974-0514, and leave a message. Your call will be returned as soon as possible.
Q. How do I get an invitation to your August cocktail party?
A. Invitations are mailed to every member of the Sea Girt Lighthouse Citizens Committee. Space constraints limit the number of tickets for sale. The party has become the social event of the season, so tickets go quickly.
Q. How can I join the Sea Girt Lighthouse Citizens Committee and what are the benefits?
A. We welcome new members and encourage them to volunteer. Dues are $25 annually per person; $200 for a perpetual membership. Your benefits include: invitations to the annual meeting featuring a topical speaker, the annual summer party, and the holiday reception in December, the fellowship of other lighthouse enthusiasts, and the rewards of helping to preserve an historic building and its rich story for future generations.
Q. Where do I sign up?
A. You may join by writing a check payable to the Sea Girt Lighthouse Citizens Committee, Inc., and mailing it to: P.O. Box 83, Ocean Avenue, Sea Girt, NJ 08750.
Q. I’m considering making a donation to the Sea Girt Lighthouse Citizens Committee. Are gifts tax deductible?
A. Yes, they are. The Sea Girt Lighthouse Citizens Committee is a tax-exempt foundation under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, registered with the State of New Jersey. Therefore all donations are tax deductible subject to standard IRS regulations. Gifts may be made throughout the year and are greatly appreciated.
Q. Whom do I make my gift to?
A. Gifts, bequests, and charitable trusts can be arranged through the treasurer of the Sea Girt Lighthouse Citizens Committee. For further information, please write Treasurer, Sea Girt Lighthouse Citizens Committee, P.O. Box 83, Ocean Avenue, Sea Girt, NJ 08750. Or call 732-974-0514.
Q. My company offers matching gifts. Do you qualify?
A. Yes, the Sea Girt Lighthouse Citizens Committee does qualify for matching gifts. The Sea Girt Lighthouse is registered under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Q. Is my membership fee tax deductible?
A. Yes, your membership fee is tax deductible. The Sea Girt Lighthouse is registered under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Q. Where is the lighthouse and how do I get there?
A. Sea Girt Lighthouse is located at the northeast corner of Sea Girt, at Ocean Avenue and Beacon Boulevard. The lighthouse is easily reached. From the Garden State Parkway, take Exit 98 to Route 138 East. Follow the signs to Ocean Avenue in Belmar, head south through Spring Lake. At the south end of Spring Lake, you’ll see the red brick lighthouse straight ahead. Take a right onto Brown Avenue, go one block and then left onto First Avenue. Go over the Wreck Pond Bridge into Sea Girt and take the first left onto Beacon to Ocean Avenue. You’re here! If you’re coming north or south on Route 71, turn east on Beacon Boulevard and take it to Ocean Avenue. New Jersey Transit buses from Port Authority, New York City, stop at Beacon Boulevard and First Avenue, one block west of the lighthouse. Trains on NJT’s Jersey Shore Line stop in Spring Lake.