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Of Sisters and Sailors...


Electric Dreams Publication Patrick Vincent McPeak Š 2012 An

All rights reserved.


For my mother, my father and my brother...


Of Sisters and Sailors...


Contents Introduction

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Tinicum Rear Range Light Est. 1880

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Paulsboro, New Jersey

Barnegat Lighthouse Est. 1859 Barnegat, New Jersey

Absecon Lighthouse Est. 1857 Atlantic City, New Jersey

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Brigantine Bay Lighthouse

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Hereford Inlet Lighthouse

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Cape May Light

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On The Way...

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Credits, Thanks & Apologies

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Est. 1926 Brigantine, New Jersey

Est. 1874 North Wildwood, New Jersey

Est. 1859 Cape May, New Jersey

Est. 2012 Throughout All of New Jersey


Sunset Beach and the wreckage of the S.S. Atlantus

Cape May Point, NJ The most southern point in New Jersey.

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Introduction The journey started on a clear friday afternoon. A project assigned to me for a photojournalism class at Temple University. Something that became a personal mission of discovery. A straight shot down the coastal ridge of New Jersey. Island hopping from lighthouse to lighthouse to discover what beauty lied in a state so overlooked for it’s scenic power and looked to as a vacation hotspot for twenty somethings, on the hunt for cheap alcohol and cheap thrills. A journey of 600 miles and infinitely more through the soul and the photographic endeavor. Ever since I was a small child, my father had statuettes of prominent lighthouses from around the United States. I overlooked them as kid, seeing them as kitsch or little decorations for our end tables. This year was a little different. Looking at the bottom of the Barnegat one, and knowing I had a roadtrip project coming up, I instantly made the connection. Discover the lighthouses that have stood for centuries and only a drive away from my family’s home in Pennsylvania. The three sisters of the sea stood as markers in my travels, similar to the many sailors that had navigated the complex inlets of New Jersey. Old Barney, Old Abbey and Old May. Three sisters of the sea standing ever watchful, guiding those lost at sea back home. It was romantic for me, doing the closest thing that I could to that. Since many of us twenty somethings feel almost lost in our existence, maybe I would find peace and understand, sitting beside old friends. I’ve always had an utter need to be by the sea and this was a personal adventure through myself. Sailing by land to discover the inlets of my soul. Forever in debt to the sisters for their help.

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Me at “Old Barney” holding my father’s statuette of the same lighthouse.

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Barnegate Lighthouse, New Jersey

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Atlantic City at susnset from the Longport Bridge Fishing Pier.

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Somers Point, New Jersey

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Sunset over the Longport Bridge.


The trip itself was a little more brutal than I orginally expected. Facing cold weather, galeforce sea winds, sleep deprivation, hangovers and slight psychosis, it really was an journey into the depths of my soul. People are sometimes scared to face their inner demons but leaving with the promise of bringing only cameras, my demons and a bottle of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and only returning with one kept me pushing up and down the coast. The Jack was gone by saturday evening and knowing my photography professor, Dr. Ed Trayes, would be severely disappointed if I had given up my photographic odyssey, I knew what would be coming along for the return trip. I used my new found friends as guides, just as many sailors before me did. With both the Bull’s Eye Lens, the more traditional rotating light, and the First-Order Fresnal Lens of Old Abbey as my guides, I set off to chase the sun. One of the last things my father said to me before I embarked on my journey. That is exactly what I did for three days. Three days and three nights to explore six lighthouses, 600 miles of coastline, a jewel city built in a salt marsh and only 72 hours to accomplish this task. I was going to need everything that I could muster to push myself and a strong tailwind to finish. Luckily, Posiedon was on my side giving me great weather and on occasion a warm breeze to lift my ever fading spirits. I knew what I was there to do, I just had to do it. In the end, I finished everything with an incredible sunset sitting next to Old May. An ever shining beacon in my child and young adult life, Old May may have been one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen that night. I must say she does look great for being over 250 years old and boy, is she strong. I knew at that point, in the ever quiet of the evening, I had accomplished everything. Life was about this. Finding your reasons, chasing the sun, following your heart and one day, if you are lucky enough, Life will whisper in your ear that you have fufilled your purpose. Life whispered in my ear that night telling me that I had made it to my destination. This is the journey you are about to witness.

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Somers Point, New Jersey


Tinicum Rear Range Light First Light: December 31st, 1880 Paulsboro, New Jersey

First lit on New Year’s Eve, 1880, the Tinicum Rear Range Lighthouse stands 85 feet tall on the coast of the Delaware River. The neoclassical pavillion anchors the steel skelatal structure standing as the centerpiece of the playing field for Paulsboro Little League. Still serving as a navigational beacon to this day, the fixed red light is powered by a 1,000 watt lamp, focused through a red lens totalling over 500,000 candlepower. The Rear Range serves in conjunction with the Tinicum Front Range Light, serving both Tinicum and the Fort Mifflin Bar Cut Range. Changed over from oil to electric in 1917, the light sits at 109 feet above sea level and is visable out to 9 and a half nautical miles. The pavillion is the only historical part of the light left. With a modern steel structure in place around the original lighthouse, it is now automated and still in full service of both Tinicum and ships navigating the Delaware River to and from the Delaware bay.

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The Tinicum Rear Range Light sits at center stage at the Paulsboro Little League Field.

The lighthouse stands watch outside the dugout from field number 1.

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Paulsboro, New Jersey

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First lit in 1880, the pride of Paulsboro, NJ still functions as a navigational beacon today. 10

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A modern steel skeletal structure surrounds the original lighthouse. The skeletal structure has become a prominent feature.

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As the reigning District 15 Champions, Paulsboro Little League has one of the more scenic fields in the state of New Jersey.

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Paulsboro, New Jersey


Empty football equipment rests before it takes another beating on a cool, autumn day.

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Paulsboro, New Jersey

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Barnegat Lighthouse First Light: January 1st, 1859 Barnegat, New Jersey

As one of the most well known lighthouses on the east coast, “Old Barney” sits at the tip of Long Beach Island. Standing at 172 feet, Barney is the tallest lighthouse in New Jersey and the fourth tallest in the United States. Construction for the watchful eye of Barnegat bay started in 1834 with a $6,000 grant from Congress Barney was first commissioned as it stands today in 1859 with a first-order flashing Fresnal lens from Paris, created custom for the lighthouse. Barney exhibits the classical bull’s eye light pattern with a flashing, sweeping beam of light, a trait she shares with her sister in the south, Old May in Cape May, NJ. Thanks to the Friends of the Barnegat Lighthouse, funds were raised to replace Barney’s aging lamp and lens with a modern Coast Gaurd light. Visible up to 22 nautical miles offshore, Barney was relighted on January 1st, 2009, exactly 150 years to the day she was first lit. Today, Barney takes a more aesthetic role in seafairing. A memento to the past and a reminder for sailors to keep safe in their travels at sea. Although, no longer the main source of safety for ocean fairing craft, Barney sits vigilent, ever watchful with her eyes out for those in trouble.

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Old Barney


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The sun rises on a brisk, autumn morning on the coast of Barnegat. Old Barney stands down after another successful night shift gaurding the inlet.

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Ge Pu of Beach Haven, NJ patiently waits for a bite on an early Saturday morning.

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Barnegat, NJ


Risky Business, a fishing boat out of Barnegat Light, NJ, heads out to sea for a hopefully successful day on the water.

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Barnegat, NJ

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A bronze bust of Lt. General George Gordon Meade stands in his honor at the foot of the Barnegat Lighthouse. Lt. General Meade was the original designer of the structure.


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One of Barney’s few windows looks north toward the sea.


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Steven Miller of Barnegat, NJ teaches his daughter Isabell the art of his favorite pasttime, surf fishing.


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A lone fisherman stands steadfast against the wind and cold of a brisk autumn morning in Barnegat, NJ. 29


Absecon Lighthouse First Light: January 15th, 1857 Atlantic City, New Jersey

Old Abbey may have the most troubled history out of all three sisters of New Jersey. First lit on January 15, 1857 in Atlantic City, the gaurdian of the Absecon Inlet stands 162 feet but is no longer serving as a navigational aid. Designed by General George Meade, Old Abbey still has her first-order Fresnal lens she was originally entrusted with in 1857. The 12,800 pound lead glass lens focused a mineral oil lamp out onto the inlet but did not flash or rotate. This was so sailors could tell the difference between Absecon, Barnegat and Cape May since the latter had flashing and rotating lamps. Sadly, on July 11th 1953, the now electric lamp was extinguished and the lighthouse was decommissioned. Although relit a series of times for Atlantic City’s centennial celebration in 1954, and relit from the New Jersey State House by Governor Richard Hughes for the Tercentary year of New Jersey in 1963, the lighthouse still remains a historical building not in operation. Even though her sisters have seen the same fate, Old Abbey remains a place of education and preservation for those wishing to take in some older relics of seafaring.

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The original keeper’s house still stands as a museum for Old Abbey in Atlantic City, NJ.

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As the tallest historical building in Atlantic City, Old Abbey competes for skyline space with many of the modern casinos and hotels in Downbeach.


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The stark contrast of old and new in Downbeach Atlantic City.

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Atlantic City, NJ.


The newest addition to the Atlantic City Skyline, Revel Resort and Hotel is the second tallest building in New Jersey.

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Atlantic City, NJ.

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Jack and Marie Donahue admire the community garden on the grounds of the Absecon Lighthouse.

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Atlantic City, NJ.


A rosemary bush bathes in the sunlight on a warm Sunday afternoon in the community garden at the base of the Absecon Lighthouse.

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Atlantic City, NJ.

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The central staircase of Old Abbey is 228 steps tall. It sits in the dark on a slow Sunday afternoon.


Brigantine Bay Lighthouse First Light: January 1st, 1926 Brigantine, New Jersey

In the middle of Atlantic City-Brigantine Boulevard sit a robust little lighthouse that has become the mascot of a usually busy shore town. Brigantine is a very popular summer getaway for many familes due to the wonderful beaches with some of the best surf in New Jersey and the close proximity to Atlantic City only helps to boost the likeabilty of Brigantine. The Island Development Real Estate company built the lighthouse in 1926 as a sales incentive instead of the tradition navigational beacon. Early on in the Depression, it served as the headquarters for the Brigantine Police Department. A central operating station for a police department of only a few officers at the time. Once the second wave of housing developments picked up, the lighthouse served as a museum and gift shop for the summer visitors of Brigantine. Early in the 1990’s, the beacon fell into a state of disrepair. Volunteers from the town pitched in and completely rehabilitated this ever aging small giant of light. It took a town to rebuild their tower. Even though the lighthouse has never served as an aid to sailors at sea or even been lit with a lamp, it has served the people of Brigantine in many ways.

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The skyline of Downbeach, Atlantic City is a permanent fixture seen from the tip of Brigantine Island.

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Brigantine, NJ.


Uptown Atlantic City serves as the gateway to the busy shore point of Brigantine.

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Brigantine, NJ.

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Hereford Inlet Lighthouse First Light: May 11th, 1873 North Wildwood, New Jersey

Situated on the south side of the Hereford Inlet, which links the Atlantic Ocean to the intra-coastal waterway running from Maine to Florida, the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse stands as a becaon of safety and assurance. First constructed in 1873, the Lighthouse originated from a life saving station built to rescue mariners from the treacherous, shifiting sandbars of the inlet. Standing at 49 and a half feet and visible uo to 13 nautical miles, the light continues to be an ever guiding gaurdian of the sea. The first keeper, John Marche, ironically drowned only three months after he was placed in his position, but his successor, Freeling Hysen Hewitt of Cape May Court House, would be an example for all light keepers to come. A civil war veteran and a former sea merchant, Freeling would serve Hereford for the next 45 years. Considered a pioneer among shore dwellers, Freeling contibuted much to the Wildwoods and the Inlet. Automated in 1986 after years of lying in disrepair, the light is now a wonderful display of history and horticulture in the Wildwoods. Surrounded by a learning garden designed by the Director of Parks, Steve Murray, the light not only guides sailors but also children learning about lighthouse life.

The ever shifting sands of the Hereford Inlet provided a great challenge to mariners navigating the popular waterway. 48

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Gardens of the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse provide relaxation and education of all things lighthouses.

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North Wildwood, NJ.


A relic of the past. Old binoculars provide scenic views of ships navigating the Inlet.

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North Wildwood, NJ.

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The Hereford Inlet Lighthouse was designed by Paul Pelz in a style he refered to “Swiss Carpenter Gothic.� It is considered one of the prime examples of this style of architechture.

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North Wildwood, NJ.

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Cape May Light First Light: October, 31st 1859 Cape May Point, New Jersey

The most southern of the three sisters, Old May is one of the three markers of the entrance to the Delaware Bay. Originally constructed in 1847, the first lighthouse in Cape May was built upon a stone foundation that would be surrounded by the sea at high tide. Only lasting four years before the sea’s wrath was taken out on the original structure, construction of the one that stands today began in 1857 and was overseen by Captain W. B. Franklin and Major Hartman Bache. Standing a shorter, 157 feet, Old May still stands with her sisters as a great gaurdian of the Delaware Bay. Operating with a first-order Fresnal lens that rotates with a constant beam, her signifying feature. The first lighting of her lantern was lit on Halloween of 1857 and she has been alight every night since. Cape May sits along a large migratory pattern for sea going birds and the lighthouse actually sits in a wildlife reserve for these birds. For years, netting was hung to keep the migrating robins, ducks and mud hens from crashing into the tower since th beacon would blind them on their way into the inlet. Old May sits silently at the most southern point of New Jersey with her eyes fixed on the entrance point to the Delware bay. She is a constant angel of the night and stands ever vigilant.

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As the sun finally dips below the horizon, the firey light of Old May comes alight.


Golden sunlight bathes Old May on a warm October Sunday afternoon.

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Cape May Point, NJ.


Cape May Point, NJ.

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Cape May Point, NJ.

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The sun sets on Old May as she prepared for another hard night of work.

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Cape May Point, NJ.

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On The Way... The Journey in Photographs.

The trip is one that I will definitely not soon forget. The trip not only was a homework assignment but it became a philosophic journey up and down the coast of my soul. Thinking about the things I expereienced for the first time this weekend is just incredible. “Old Barney”, enjoying the solitude of the road took me to places I never thought I would get to. The photographic endeavor is something that I alwys want to be a part of my life. Not only is photojournalism what I’ve found to be my life’s calling, it is a part of me as an individual. Many times I forgot I was even shooting photographs, I was just seeing things. The camera has become my trusted companion. The Silver to my Lone Ranger. Taking every step with me in life in stride. I may not own the most advanced cameras and frankly, I still shoot a lot of film, but I adore the pure function and willpower of my little guy. Refusing to quit well after over 50,000 exposures and a shutter rebuild. A trooper, if you will. This trip was a long time in the making.

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An experimental panorama of the Ocean City-Longport Inlet.

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Coming from Somers Point, the Longport Bridge is one of the most popular routes onto the island.

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Somers Point, NJ.


Connecting two popular shore points, the Longport Bridge is a main thorofare into Ocean City.

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Somers Point, NJ.

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Wild reeds grow between the floating dock and the shore of Shady River Marina.

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Egg Harbor Township, NJ.


The Snack Shack of Shady River Marina sits closed on a late Friday afternoon in October.

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Egg Harbor Township, NJ.

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Fred Harris of Princeton, NJ casts off for the for the last time this season. Striped Bass seasons runs from mid-April to the end of October.

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Cape May Point, NJ.


Fred and Jean Harris enjoy the sunset with their grandchildren at Sunset Point in Cape May Point, NJ.

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Cape May Point, NJ.

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Credits:

Thanks & Apologies Because life happens...

I can not offer enough thanks to everyone who supported me through this journey we call life My mother for being an ever supportive ray of sunlight in my life My father for the incredible advice like “chase the sun” and all of the other one liners through the years My brother for giving the courage to press on in my dreams and always reminding me to stay reckless My family for showing me that life is about love, and most days that’s a miracle My photo family for being a source of laughter and support, mostly laughter The state of New Jersey for being my source of inspiriation Hardwell, Arty, Sander Van Doorn and the rest of the musicians that kept me going through the rough patches Forest Laboratories and Sandoz Pharmaceudicals for keeping me vertical Chevrolet for making a wonderfully reliable vehicle To Ge, I’m so sorry you lost that big blue. Here’s to many more sunrises and many more fish!

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In the most sincere words, I offer thanks to my own personal lighthouse.

Danielle Theresa Gorcica Forever my sister.

Sail on!” it says: “sail on, ye stately ships!” And with your floating bridge the ocean span; Be mine to guard this light from all eclipse. Be yours to bring man nearer unto man. -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Produced in Philadelphia, PA Temple University PhotoJournalism

Of Sisters and Sailors...


Of Sister and Sailors...