Finn's Point Rear Range Light

Supawna Meadows, Salem, NJ

The Finn's Point Rear Range Light was built for the United States Lighthouse Service at a cost of $1200 in 1876. The tower is constructed out of wrought iron, wrought iron being used over cast iron because of the resistance to corrosion and stress fractures. This is ideal for tall structures exposed to high winds.

The lens inside the lantern room was a 24 inch diameter Fourth Order Fresnel lens with a double wick burner, similar to a Coleman lamp of today, but able to put out 150,000 candlepower. The light was automated in 1939.

There are 130 steps to the top of the tower; 119 spiral steps up the tower and an 11 step ladder. The keeper of the light had to climb these steps twice every day; once at night to turn on the light, and once in the morning to extinguish it.

Finn's Point was part of a range light system. A range light needs a second light, in front, to work properly. A captian of a ship would line up the two lights together. When they were in line, he knew he was in the center of the channel. This light served as point of entry and exit between the Delaware Bay and the Delaware River. In 1950, the Army Corps of Engineers dredged the channel 180 feet wide and 40 feet deep and made the lighthouse obsolete. Today, the Reedy Island range lights mark the new channel alignment. The original front range light was located south of Fort Mott aroun 1928.

The light fell into disrepair after 1950. The keeper's house was demolished after repeated arson and vandalism made it unsafe. On August 30, 1978, the lighthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In the 1970s, local citizens who were concerned about the state of the lighthouse formed the "Save the Lighthouse Committee". In 1983, their efforts were rewarded when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded a contract to restore the tower. On October 14, 1984, an openhouse was held commemorate the efforts of the restoration. The lighthouse is now part of the Supawana Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.

Directions: take route 40 south to route 49. Follow into Pennsville. In Pennsville, follow signs for the Coastal Herritage Trail Visitor Center and Fort Mott State Park. Bear to the right and follow this road. You will drive right to the lighthouse.