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East Point Lighthouse gets 'wonderful surprise' with cottage roof donation

The Daily Journal logo The Daily Journal 9/13/2022 Anthony V. Coppola, Vineland Daily Journal

MAURICE RIVER TWP. - The quaint cottage that serves as both an office and gift shop for the historic East Point Lighthouse underwent a much-needed facelift thanks to the generosity of one South Jersey business.

Nancy Patterson, who oversees operations at the 173-year-old lighthouse, recently took to the landmark's Facebook page seeking estimates from roofing companies and donations from the community to help fund the imperative project.

It turns out neither were needed.

Michael Foti, president of SRA Home Products in Williamstown, caught wind of Patterson's plea and jumped into action. Foti was familiar with Patterson and her work at the lighthouse after meeting her through one of his employees several years ago.

"I was always impressed with how much she puts into that place, and she doesn't make any money doing it," Foti said of Patterson. "Getting things restored, keeping things in their preserved condition, it's amazing to see."

Foti said it appeared Patterson was "in dire need of some help" and he wanted to lend a hand.

SRA donated its time and materials to install a new roof on the cottage, a job Foti estimated to be $4,000 to $5,000.

Patterson called the gesture "unexpected, amazing support" and a "wonderful surprise."

Related:East Point Lighthouse issues spotlighted in N.J. commissioner bay shore tour

According to Patterson, the cottage roof had started to leak and was even missing shingles on the side of the structure facing the Delaware Bay.

"It wasn't a glamourous project like restoring the lighthouse but oh-so needed," Patterson said. "The little cottage is such a huge help to the lighthouse project serving as a nice little gift shop that adds much needed financial support without taking away museum space inside the lighthouse. The building itself has no historical significance so finding a grant to do this maintenance project would have been difficult to say the least."

For Foti and his team, the site's historical significance played a role in their willingness to donate the cottage roof.

"Look, that's a big part of it," Foti said. "I get more of a thrill in allowing my employees to take part in something like that. To lend a hand and not get a paycheck to do it. But I get more pride in helping somebody (Patterson) constantly dealing with challenges, multiple challenges from different agencies in trying to get things done."

The lighthouse is situated within the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Heislerville Wildlife Management Area and is managed by the state in partnership with the Maurice River Township Historical Society.

East Point Lighthouse was built in 1849 and is the second oldest in New Jersey behind Sandy Hook Lighthouse (1764). East Point is still a functioning light aiding mariners in the Delaware Bay.

For Patterson, work at the light isn't done. "It never is," she says.

The cottage soon needs new windows and the building's siding could use replacing.

Patterson also expects the artificial berm installed by the state in 2019 that was to act as protection for the lighthouse and its eroding shoreline to be revitalized this fall.

Patterson said she received clearance from the state for Cumberland County and Maurice River Township to perform the work.

"Just waiting for both crews to have time at the same time," Patterson added.

East Point Lighthouse will hold its Butterfly Festival Sept. 17-18 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information about events or to donate, visit

A South Jersey native, Anthony Coppola has handled a variety of beats at The Daily Journal, Courier-Post and Burlington County Times, including award-winning work in sports and business coverage. Coppola, who joined the staff in 2008, now focuses on public safety enterprise reporting.

This article originally appeared on Vineland Daily Journal: East Point Lighthouse gets 'wonderful surprise' with cottage roof donation


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