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Twin Lights

By Linda Tancs

Prior to the 1820s, the only permanent lighthouse in New Jersey’s Highlands was Sandy Hook Light. Thereafter, an increase in shipping led to the construction of an additional light in the area, Twin Lights, two lighthouses separated by 320 feet. The original design provided for one tower with a fixed light and the other with a rotating light so that mariners could easily differentiate between the single Sandy Hook Light and the dual lights of the new station. More than just another lighthouse, Twin Lights made history when the first Fresnel lenses in the United States were installed in the towers. The lights gained notoriety again in 1893 when the site was selected as the location for the first official reading of the Pledge of Allegiance as America’s national oath of loyalty. Another cutting-edge development occurred in 1935, when the U.S. Army began field-testing radar at the site. The radar experiments held at Twin Lights not only helped the Allies win World War II, but they also led directly to modern innovations that enable air traffic control.

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