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The History of Long Beach Island

Known for its length, white sandy beaches, strong breezes and fantastic personality, Long Beach Island is an 18 mile barrier island located along the central coast of New Jersey. Currently home to over 20 different communities, LBI was first discovered in 1614 by Captain Cornelius Jacobson May and he is the one who named the inlet Barnegat, meaning Inlet of the Breakers due to its rough waters, dangerous shoals and infamously powerful tides. Barnegat Lighthouse still stands today and is a symbol of what LBI is all about. The island began as an important whaling and fishing center and then turned into a playground for the wealthy with several hunting and fishing clubs taking advantage of the wild life. And today, it is a phenomenal place to live and vacation with friends and family.

Long Beach Island History Timeline

  • 1614 - Cornelius May names Barnegat Inlet.
  • 1745 - Ephraim Morse lives on Short Beach.
  • 1750 - Cranberry Inlet opens.
  • 1765 - Reuben Tucker purchases Ephraim Morse's property on Short Beach.
  • 1790 - Clamtown becomes Tuckerton, New Jersey.
  • 1815 - Captain Joseph Horner built the Philadelphia Company House and the Cranberry Inlet closes up.
  • 1820 - Herring House opened near the Barnegat Inlet.
  • 1821 - The Great Swamp was destroyed by a hurricane.
  • 1822 - The Mansion of Health opened for its first season and the Philadelphia Company House opened under new management. 
  • 1834 - First Barnegat Lighthouse was built.
  • 1841 - Samuel Perrine established the Harvey Cedars Hotel.
  • 1845 - Tucker House burned down.
  • 1848 - Little Egg Harbor Lighthouse and Government House of Refuse built at Harvey Cedars.
  • 1851 - Thomas Bond buys the Philadelphia Company House and changes its name to the Long Beach House. 
  • 1854 - The Powhatan shipwrecks just off Great Swamp and Camden and Atlantic Railroad was completed. 
  • 1855 - Herring House was sold to John Brown who renamed it Ashley House.
  • 1859 - Second Barnegat Lighthouse at began its operation. 
  • 1865 - Congress reestablished Little Egg Harbor Light. Eber Rider became the first light keeper of Little Egg Harbor Light.
  • 1866 - Jarvis Rider became the first master of the Little Egg Harbor Life Saving Station on Tucker's Island. 
  • 1870 - Sumner Kimball became chief of the Revenue Marine Service. 
  • 1871 - The U.S. Life Saving Service was established. Also, the Bond's Life Saving Station was built and the Tuckerton Railroad was completed. 
  • 1872 - Archelaus Ridgeway Pharo ran a spur track from the Tuckerton Railroad to Edge Cove. Barclay provided transportation from to Edge Cove to Beach Haven. Tilton Fox opened the Hotel DeCrab. 
  • 1873 - The Tuckerton and Long Beach Land Building and Improvement Company were established. 
  • 1874 - Beach Haven was founded and Dock Road was built on Mud Hen Creek. Parry House and Bay View House opened in Beach Haven. Long Beach City established at Great Swamp. The Mansion of Health burnt down. The Mansion House was built and Old Inlet was no longer navigable. 
  • 1875 - The Columbia Hotel opened on Tucker's Island. 
  • 1876 - The Engleside Hotel opened in Beach Haven. 
  • 1879 - Javis Rider built St. Albans and Sea Haven was established. 
  • 1881 - Parry House was destroyed by fire. Holy Innocents Episcopal Church was founded and The Oceanic Hotel opened in Barnegat City. The steamer Hesse began service from Tom's River to Barnegat City. 
  • 1882 - The Beach Haven Yacht Club and The Peahala Gunning Club were founded. 
  • 1883 - The Hotel Baldwin opened as the Arlington Inn. The Sans Souci Hotel opened in Barnegat City. Also, the Beach Haven Fire Company was established. 
  • 1884 - Telegraph services reached Tucker's Island. 
  • 1886 - A Railroad trestle bridge was built to the island. The Manahawkin and Long Beach Railroad was completed. 
  • 1889 - A Lighthouse Keeper's house was built in Barnegat City.
  • 1890 - William L. Bulter became Beach Haven's first Mayor. 
  • 1894 - Surf City and Harvey Cedars became an independent borough. 
  • 1895 - Sea Haven schoolhouse opened. 
  • 1904 - John Cranmer opened the Acme Hotel. 
  • 1907 - The Sea Haven Company planed St. Albans-by-the-Sea.
  • 1909 - Mercer Baird became mayor of Beach Haven. 
  • 1912 - Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club was founded. 
  • 1914 - Automobile Causeway and Long Beach Boulevard were constructed. 
  • 1915 - The U.S. Coast Guard was established. 
  • 1919 - Prohibition begins. 
  • 1920 - Beach Haven Inlet was created. A road was built to Barnegat City.
  • 1921 - Camp Whelen founded by the Philadelphia YMCA. 
  • 1923 - Trains stopped running to the north end of Long Beach Island. 
  • 1924 - Haupt Jetties was built at Holgate. 
  • 1926 - G.E. Bliss found Beach Haven Gardens. 
  • 1927 - Little Egg Harbor Lighthouse fell into the sea. 
  • 1932 - St. Albans-by-the-Sea was removed from tax books. 
  • 1933 - Prohibition ended and the Little Egg Coast Guard station was abandoned. 
  • 1935 - A storm destroyed the railroad bridge to the island thus ending service. 
  • 1936 - Railroad tracks were removed from the island. 
  • 1940 - The Peahala Gunning Club was burned down.
  • 1941 - Harvey Cedars Bible Conference was established. 
  • 1948 - Barnegat City's name was officially changed to Barnegat Light.
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