First lit on June 11, 1764, the Sandy Hook Light is the oldest surviving lighthouse in what is now the United States. Financed by a lottery, it was built by the Colony of New York to keep ships safe as they passed by Sandy Hook on their way to and from New York Harbor. In 2014, the lighthouse celebrated its 250th anniversary. It remains a working lighthouse today. Visitors may climb its tower, but the 1857 Fresnel (fray-NEL) lens is now electrically lit and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. During the American Revolution, its thick walls protected it from cannonball fire from the Continental Army. The British captured the lighthouse in 1776 and held it through the end of the war in 1783. The lighthouse itself was fortified during the War of 1812, when the shortlived Fort Gates was built here. The Lighthouse Keeper's Quarters, built in 1883, is the fifth such quarters built on this site. It was one of two U.S. Life Saving Service (USLSS) structures on the Hook. After Hurricane Sandy, it has served as a museum and visitor center until the USLSS building at Spermaceti Cove is repaired. The Sandy Hook Light is a National Historic Landmark within a National Historic Landmark. It has its own status as a National Historic Landmark but is also part of the Fort Hancock and Sandy Hook Proving Ground Historic District National Historic Landmark.
The United States is one of the most diverse countries on earth, jam packed full of amazing sights from St. Patrick's cathedral in New York to Mount Hollywood California.The Northeast region is where it all started. Thirteen British colonies fought the American Revolution from here and won their independence in the first successful colonial rebellion in history. Take a look at these rolling hills carpeted with foliage along the Hudson river here, north of New York City.The American south is known for its polite people and slow pace of life. Probably they move slowly because it's so hot. Southerners tend not to trust people from "up north" because they talk too fast. Here's a cemetery in Georgia where you can find graves of soldiers from the Civil War.The West Coast is sort of like another country that exists to make the east coast jealous. California is full of nothing but grizzly old miners digging for gold, a few gangster rappers, and then actors. That is to say, the West Coast functions as the imagination of the US, like a weird little brother who teases everybody then gets famous for making freaky art.The central part of the country is flat farmland all the way over to the Rocky Mountains. Up in the northwest corner you can find creative people in places like Portland and Seattle, along with awesome snowboarding and good beer. Text by Steve Smith.