Built in 1764, on the tip of the Sandy Hook Peninsula, near the head of New York Harbor, the Sandy Hook Lighthouse predates the United States by more than a decade. Yet far from being a great patriotic symbol during the Revolution, the Sandy Hook Lighthouse was the center of a menacing British presence throughout the war. It is a little known irony that the lighthouse would not be standing today if America's patriots had had their way.
In the year 1764 an eight-year-old Mozart was entertaining the crowned heads of Europe, Beethoven would not be born for another six years, the signing of the Declaration of Independence was twelve years in the future, and America's oldest existing lighthouse was in its first year of operation. Although it was the fifth constructed in the colonies, it is the oldest surviving lighthouse in America. However, the origins of the lighthouse can be traced back to an earlier era.