Friday, August 2, 2013

Two Million Visitors!

 More than 2 million visitors have visited the Cape May Lighthouse since 1988.

Lower Township Mayor Michael Beck and Councilman Glenn Douglass visited the Cape May Lighthouse Aug. 1 to see improvements made this year by the Mid Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC) and to congratulate the organization on the 25th anniversary of opening the building to the public.

The lighthouse is located in Lower Township at the foot of the Lower Cape May Meadows at Cape May Point State Park.

Michael Zuckerman, MAC director, said 75,000 visitors per year come to the lighthouse.

“Since its restoration they managed to have 2,125,878 visitors come to the lighthouse” said Beck. “We recognize in Lower Township that tourism is the backbone of industry in Cape May County and were glad to be able to showcase not only the lighthouse but all the assets that we have in Lower Township and the surrounding area.”

He said the township was grateful to MAC for their work in restoring and operating the lighthouse.

Windows were removed, refurbished and reinstalled in the lighthouse this year as well as the building receiving a light wash to brighten the exterior paint.

Tom Carroll, a longtime MAC volunteer who was instrumental in the restoration of the lighthouse, said when he first saw the lighthouse before work began there was deterioration of the bricks and staircase. He said the Coast Guard had to option of placing a beacon on a tower rather than using the lighthouse.

“That was last thing that any of us in Cape May County wanted,” said Carroll.

MAC maintains the building while the Coast Guard maintains the light.

Nanci Coughlin, director of tour operations, said the lighthouse keepers, who actually serve as tour guides, have a passion for the lighthouse and go above and beyond in their duties. New interpretive panels are being installed at the lighthouse to help educate visitors.

The Cape May Lighthouse has been an aid to navigation since 1859 and is one of the oldest continually operating lighthouses in the nation. National Lighthouse Day is Aug. 7.

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