The Cape May Lighthouse is one of the region's most famous landmarks, having been depicted on statuettes, wall hangings, coffee cups and calendars to the point of iconic status, the Cape May Lighthouse is the image that comes to mind for many people when they think about American lighthouses.
Located in Cape May Point State Park, the lighthouse is still functioning today and available for public tours. The climb is 199 steps and provides an incredible view of the State Park, the Cape May Point and the ocean beyond it. Some people have reported that on a clear day, one can see all the way to Delaware, about 16 miles away. An orientation center and museum shop are close by.
In addition to its present fame and notability, the lighthouse also has played an important role in the past. It was the third-ever lighthouse built in Cape May, and due to poor construction and erosion problems in the others, is the only one remaining. Equipped with a Fresnel lens from 1859 to 1946, which has since been given to the Cape May County Historical Museum, the lighthouse has had a run of interesting keepers: Downes Foster, who kept his position for twenty-five years from the lighthouse's first opening, Harry Palmer, who won an efficiency flag for the lighthouse's condition in 1925 and 26, and Samuel Stilwell, who first began giving tours in 1882.
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