HIGHLANDS – Author photographer and master printer Paul Eric Johnson was the master of ceremonies for the ceremony at the Twin Lights Historic site on Friday, formally unveiling the new Commemorative Forever stamps honoring the Mid-Atlantic Lighthouses, the last in the series of lighthouse stamps which began the series in 1990.
Johnson’s works have been exhibited throughout the world, and his travel books, published by Voyageur Press, include “ Lighthouses of the Mid-Atlantic Coast” and “Backroads of New Jersey” have been published by Voyageur Press.
Michael P. Deignan NJ District Manager for the Postal Service, gave the welcome address at the outdoor ceremony in front of the historic museum, and introduced Linda Malone, vice president, Engineering Systems for the postal service.
NJ Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette represented Governor Murphy at the event, and Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger, who represents the district where the lighthouse is located, was there for the State Assembly.
Other officials include Highlands Mayor Carolyn Broullon and borough administrator Michael Muselli, and publisher Peter McCracken, as well as local Highlands Business Partnership president Jay Cosgrove and his wife Becky.
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The Twin Lights, one of only seven two tower lighthouses in the country, and a site on the National Registry of Historic sites, also became the first light station in the nation to have Fresnel lenses installed, was the site for Marconi’s first wireless message and was the site where the Pledge of Allegiance was said publicly for the first time. In the early 20th century, Robert Blume, the only Highlands resident be the recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, was a lighthouse keeper at the site. Blume received his Medal for heroism during the Spanish American War at Cienfuegos, Cuba.
In addition to the Twin Lights, four other Mid-Atlantic lighthouses honored in this latest series are the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse, built in 1875 in the Chesapeake Bay south of Annapolis, Md., the 1796 Montauk Point Lighthouse off Long Island, the Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse in Delaware Bay near Lewes, bult in 1926, and the Erie Harbor Pierhead Light in Pennsylvania helped ships navigate the inlet between Lake Erie and Presque Isle for more than 150 years.
In praising the new stamp and its observance of the Twin Lights, Deignan also noted the post office deliveries approximately 3.7 million pieces of mail a day in the state and another half million pieces of mail to post office boxes, work accomplished by 22,572 postal employees in New Jersey. Tracing some history of the Twin Lights, he noted the north house was relit by the state when it took ownership of the lighthouse from the borough of Highlands in 1962.
Ms Malone noted the new stamp honoring the lighthouses are in time for this year’s National Lighthouse Day, Saturday, Aug. 7.
LaTourette thanked state officials and employees but expressed special thanks to the local community and the Twin Lights Historical Society for the everyday care that keeps the museum and historic site alive and inviting to the public.