Home Maps Resources Calendar About
Resources Calendar About
Passaic River, NJ  Lighthouse destroyed.   

Select a photograph to view a photo gallery

Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

See our full List of Lighthouses in New Jersey

Passaic River Lighthouse

1849 – On the 3d March, 1849, another act was passed, entitled "An act making appropriations for light-houses, light-boats, buoys, &c, and providing for the erection and establishment of the same, and for other purposes."
Under the second section of this act, the Secretary of the Navy was requested to appoint officers of the Navy, of a grade not below that of commander, to examine and report upon the expediency, or otherwise, of erecting lights at the following places, viz:
In regard to the following lights, provided for by the same law, it was not considered necessary that Navy officers should examine them. The necessary instructions have, therefore, been given to the several superintendents to give effect to the law, as follows:
For a light-house on rocks at Bergen point, $5,000. For a light-house at the mouth of Passaic river, $5,000. For a light-house on the east side of Maurice river, $5,000. These several lights have been built and in operation for several months past.

1850 – Passaic River light-house. 5 lamps; M. P. Nerney, keeper; supplied June 1, 1850. This light-hose is built on a pier of wood, two stories high, with the lantern on the roof. This also will, I think, prove a very useful light. It is rated or intended for 6 lamps, but only 5 are now in use. Lighting apparatus is second-hand and good. Spent some little time in adjusting and flowing the lamps and re-hanging the reflectors. House is somewhat leaky.
Delivered 151 gallons spring oil, 52 gallons winter oil, on hand 10 gallons for total of 213. 30 tube glasses; 2 gross wicks; 20 yards cloth; 1 buff skin; 1 box Tripoli; 1 box soap; 1 pair scissors; 1 burner complete.
3 spare lamps, in good order. Common brass burners, bushed; will probably want to be replaced with new ones next year.

1855 – Bergen Point and Passaic Light-houses, Newark Bay, N. J.—The cribs on which these buildings stand were originally built in the slightest manner possible, and without being entirely filled in. They are now decayed, or worm-eaten, and settling inwards; the walls of the buildings are settling, and the whole fabrics are in such a state as to be liable to be swept away by a heavy pressure of ice at any moment. I would recommend that both be rebuilt.

1855 – Passaic light.—This seems to have been copied in almost every particular from the Bergen Point light, with this difference now between them, that the settlement of the house is much more considerable. Indeed, the injury done to it is so great, that I do not hesitate to join with Lieutenant Case in recommending that the keeper be permitted to vacate the premises and establish himself at Newark, or some place convenient to the light, during the approaching winter. The house is not habitable.
Under these circumstances I am compelled to recommend as thorough a change here as at Bergen Point; and having the same difficulty to contend with in making an estimate, I now submit a conjectural one, and say—
Estimate for improvements $20,000.

1856 – For rebuilding the foundation of light-house tower and keeper’s dwelling at Passaic light-house. August 18, 1856. $20,000.

1857 – Newark Bay, Passaic light-house.—A substantial stone pier has been constructed at this point for the foundation of a new light-house and keeper's dwelling.

1858 -The two light-houses in Newark bay, which were commenced in the spring of 1857, are nearly finished.

1859 – Bergen Point and Passaic light-houses have been completed and the lights exhibited.

1867 – Passaic, Newark bay, N. J.—Copper lantern-deck replaced by a deck of cast-iron; tower thus rendered water-tight. Slight repairs to keeper's dwelling and the protecting pier.

1868 – Passaic.—The buildings need repainting and the masonry of the foundation needs repointing.

1869 – Passaic, Newark Bay, mouth of Passaic River, N. J.—This structure will be repaired, and the masonry of the protection repointed.

1874 – Passaic light, Newark Bay, New Jersey.—The fog-bell at this station is at present struck by hand, which precludes efficient service during fogs. A Stevens striking-apparatus of improved pattern has therefore been purchased, and will be placed at the station at an early day.

1880 – Passaic Light and Elbow Beacon, Newark Bay, New Jersey.— The fog-bell machinery was repaired, and the buildings repaired and repainted.

1905 – Passaic, New Jersey.—The fifth order fixed white lens was replaced with a fourth order revolving lens. Vessel men complain of the tone of the bell in this light-house. It weighs between 1,000 and 1,200 pounds, and it is deemed impracticable to increase the size of the bell. Since the light-house was built, in 1850, the channel through Newark Bay has shifted so that it no longer passes near this light; hence a more efficient fog bell is necessary now than was required at the time the light-house was built. The Board deems the best solution of this matter will be to build a new light and fog-signal near the west end of the draw near the Lehigh Valley Railroad bridge. This will bring the light-house near the edge of the channel, where it will be of much more use than in its present position. The present light and fog-signal can be abandoned when the new one is built. It is estimated that a light and fog-signal can be built at the point suggested at a cost of not exceeding $15,000, and the Board recommends that an appropriation of this amount be made therefor.

1906 – Passaic, N. J.—The following statement and recommendation made in the Board's last annual report is renewed:
Vessel men complain of the tone of the hell in this light-house. It weighs between 1,000 and 1,200 pounds, and it is deemed impracticable to increase the size of the hell. Since the light-house was built, in 1850, the channel through Newark Bay has shifted so that it no longer passes near this light; hence a more efficient fog bell is necessary now than was required at the time the lighthouse was built. The Board deems the best solution of this matter will be to build a new light and fog-signal near the west end of the draw near the Lehigh Valley Railroad bridge. This will bring the light-house near the edge of the channel, where it will be of much more use than in its present position. The present light and fog-signal can be abandoned when the new one is built. It is estimated that a light and fog-signal station can be built at the point suggested at a cost of not exceeding $15,000, and the Board recommends that an appropriation of this amount be made therefor.

1907 – Passaic, Newark Bay, New Jersey.—The act approved on March 4, 1907, appropriated $15,000 for a light and fog-signal at or near the west end of the draw, near the Lehigh Valley Railroad bridge. The work will be done as soon as practicable.

1908 – Discontinued light: Passaic light, New Jersey, upon the establishment of the new Passaic light.

1909 – Passaic, N. J.—Authorized by the act of February 26, 1907, at a cost of $15,000; appropriation, act of March 4, 1907, $15,000.
This light and fog-signal station is to be located at or near the west end of the draw of the Lehigh Valley Railroad bridge at Passaic, N. J. Preliminary plans and specifications for the station have been made. The structure should be completed about December 31, 1909.

1910 - Passaic, N. J.—The act approved February 26, 1907, provides:
A light and fog-signal station at or near the west end of the draw near the Lehigh Valley Railroad bridge at Passaic, New Jersey, at a cost not to exceed fifteen thousand dollars; and from and after the time when such station shall be put in service the present light for the channel at Newark Bay shall be discontinued.
The act approved March 4, 1907, appropriated $15,000. Detailed plans have been finished and specifications for the new light-house are being prepared. Of the appropriation, $631.75 has been expended.

1910 – Passaic, New Jersey.—The discontinuance of this light, upon the establishment of the new Passaic light, is provided for in the act authorizing the new light.

1912 – Passaic, N. J.—The act of March 4, 1907, appropriated $15,000 for a light and fog signal station at or near the west end of the draw near the Lehigh Valley Railroad bridge at Passaic, N. J. Work on this project has been deferred pending consideration of another site requested by maritime interests for which the present appropriation is insufficient. Estimate has been submitted for increase of appropriation and authority for change of site. Amount expended to June 30, 1912, $656.75.

1912 – Passaic Light Station, N. J.—
For completing the reestablishment of Passaic Light and Fog Signal Station, Newark Bay, N. J., including authority to build on a new site, if necessary, $45,000.
Note.—The present station was built in 1850, and is now so far from the channel as to be practically useless. A large amount of commerce to and from Newark, Passaic, Paterson, and other points on the Passaic River passes this point, and urgent requests have been received from maritime interests requesting this improvement. The act of March 4, 1907 (34 Stats.. 1318) appropriated $15 000 for a light and fog signal station at or near the west end of the draw near the Lehigh Valley Railroad bridge at Passaic, N. J. In all petitions received on the subject, the request has been made that this light should not be established near the bridge, but near the present black buoy No. 3 now marking a turn in the channel. A full investigation has been made and it is believed that the location requested by maritime interests is the proper one. Borings have been made at the proposed site and disclose difficult foundation conditions, making necessary a considerable increase over the amount previously appropriated. It is, therefore, proposed to establish a light and fog hell on a pile and concrete foundation at a point near buoy No. 3. Detailed estimate:
Foundation $35,000
Superstructure 15,000
Illuminating and tog signal equipment 5,000
Contingencies 5,000
Total 60,000
Original appropriation 15,000
Total 45,000

1914 – Passaic River Lighthouse discontinued and abandoned.

1935 – Passaic River Lighthouse destroyed by fire in August 1935.

Keepers:

  • Head: Michael P. Nerney (1849 – 1870), Frederick T. Homey (1870), William P. Bonnell (1870 – 1875), Joseph Travin (1875 – 1878), Lewis B. Place (1878 – 1880), Dennis MacCashin (1881 – 1903), Eliza MacCashin (1903 – 1914).
  • Assistant: Archibald Darragh (1854 – 1857), Stephen Francis (1857 – 1863), Archibald Harrigan (1863 – 1868), Stephen B. Andrews (1868), George French (1868 – 1869), Frederick T. Nerney (1869 – 1870), Joseph Trawin (1870), Anna Q. Bonnell (1870 – 1875), William W. Trowbridge (1875), Edward W. Trawin (1876), Ida M. Trawin (1876 – 1877), Mary E. Wilcox (1877), Edward W. Trawin (1878), William Bust (1878), George V. Post (1878 – 1881), Eliza MacCashin (1881 – 1903), Hugh MacCashin (1904 – at least 1913).

Copyright © 2001- Lighthousefriends.com
Pictures on this page copyright National Archives, used by permission.
email Kraig