Posted/Updated by Bryan Penberthy on 2011-03-14.
Original front range lighthouse (Courtesy Coast Guard)
The Conover Beacon, sometimes called the Chapel Hill Front Range Lighthouse, was one of the pair of lights that marked the entrance to the Chapel Hill Channel. Congress first set aside the funds necessary to establish a pair of range lights in 1852, and acquired land on July 30, 1853, however, it would be 1856 before the towers would see operation. Both range lights were constructed by Richard Calrow Jr. of NYC, which later constructed several other range lights in the New Jersey area. The Coast Guard has a good photo of the original 55 foot tall wooden front range lighthouse shown below.
The current tower dates to 1926 when it was put into service as the Waackaack Front Range Lighthouse. It was relocated to serve as the Chapel Hill Front Range Light in 1941. The tower has been inactive since 1957. In 2004, the federal government transferred ownership to Middletown Township. Several groups are working on plans to restore the tower.
The Chapel Hill Rear Range Light is still standing today as well. It is now a private residence and set back off the road, making it hard to see.
Chapel Hill Rear Range Light (Courtesy Coast Guard)
Directions: The tower is located on public land at the end of Leonard Ave, just off Route 36 in the Town of Leonard.
Access: Grounds open, tower closed.View more Conover Beacon Lighthouse pictures