Romer Shoal Light Station is an offshore lighthouse erected in 1898 in Lower New York Bay approximately 3.8 miles north of Sandy Hook, New Jersey. It sits in an area of shallow water that is hazardous to vessels navigating to and from the port of New York. The lighthouse is a “sparkplug” type lighthouse that includes a caisson foundation and conical light tower made of cast iron. The cylindrical foundation supports a four-story conical sparkplug-type light tower with integral keepers’ quarters topped by a cylindrical watch room and octagonal lantern. The tower’s lower half is painted white, the upper half, including the watch room and lantern, is painted brown, and the cylindrical caisson is painted black. This tower and lantern were originally erected at Tompkinsville Lighthouse Depot on Staten Island in 1883 for use as a platform for equipment experiments and was dismantled and brought to Romer Shoal in 1898. Romer Shoal Light Station is operated as an automated aid to navigation and is significant for its association with the Federal government’s efforts to provide an integrated system of navigational aids throughout the United States and to promote maritime safety in the vicinity of New York harbor. It is also significant for its distinctive characteristics and methods of construction employed for offshore lighthouses during the late-nineteenth century.
According to the National Register nomination, the lighthouse “continues to fulfill its original function as an operating Federal aid to navigation. It still evokes feelings that recall its historical character as an isolated offshore lighthouse manned by keepers dedicated to fulfilling their duty to promote navigational safety.” The lighthouse was added to the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places in 2007 and was sold at auction to a private businessman from Staten Island who, when he purchased it in 2011, wished for it to be used by the National Lighthouse Museum for tours and overnights. At that time, the lighthouse was in good condition. Unfortunately, the lighthouse was significantly damaged by Super Storm Sandy in 2012. According to the Romer Shoal Lighthouse, a nonprofit organization trying to raise funds for its preservation, all of the doors and windows on the first two levels were blown out and the interiors were inundated with water. The rocks, jetty and protective riprap were diminished and access to it has been compromised. Most significantly, huge chunks of the caisson and foundation were damaged up to the base of the lighthouse. The lighthouse is now fully exposed to the natural elements and rust has spread surprisingly fast. Preservation New Jersey supports this nonprofit’s efforts to pursue public and private assistance in the hope of raising the funds for remediation of what is a critical aid to navigation in New York Harbor.
Preservation New Jersey