Dozens of lighthouses on the east coast are being sold or given away by the Federal Government. In the last 14 years they have gotten rid of 100 unused lighthouses on both coasts. Many groups were handed 68 of the treasured waterways watchers, and over 30 were sold at auctions. A spokesman for the Coast Guard stated, “Retiring of over 70 more is on the agenda and there is no set amount of lighthouses that will be given away or sold.” As a lighthouse becomes obsolete, the Federal Government is set to put them on the auction block.
Many of history’s iconic lighthouses are being re-purposed as tourist attractions and museums, but many of them that are out in the middle of nowhere sit idle and unloved on the auctioneer’s list. First pick goes to non-profit organizations who can apply to own a piece of history; if no applications are received they go up for public auction.
Lighthouses are available on both coasts and the Associated Press (AP) is providing the list of properties available in the states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Massachusetts. Some of the current listings include the Halfway Rock Light Station in Maine, which currently has six bidders with the highest bid at over $200,00. (pictured right) This landmark has a colorful history and not all of it is good. A petition to build the lighthouse began in 1835, but was ignored until many lost their lives when their ships crashed onto the rocks. The structure did not get funding until 1871 when it was finally built, and locals consider it a monument to those who lost their lives so long ago.
A lighthouse in Wisconsin has just two bidders so far, and the high bid is just over $20,000 for the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal North Pierhead. The structure was built in 1881 and sits just off the coast of Lake Michigan, and was first lit with a static red light in 1882 and was manned by a light keeper for the next 60 years.
Massachusetts has one of the lowest high bids for the Minots Ledge Light, whose 1-4-3 blinking light pattern has caused the locals to equate it with the words I love you. The reason being, the amount of letters in each word matches the blinking pattern of the light; I (1 blink) Love (4 blinks) You (3 blinks). There are only 2 bids so far, with the highest being a mere $10,000.
Michigan also has a lighthouse on the auction block along the straits of Mackinaw. Round Island Passage Light is one of the last working lighthouses built in the Great Lakes. It was built in 1896, and was manned until the light was added in 1948, which allowed the light keeper to move out. This historic landmark has a light that can be seen for 16 miles, a fog horn and a separate free-standing control house. This also has just two bidders with the high bid being over $20,000, it is the featured image for this article.
Dreams of living on the water in a working lighthouse is not for the faint of heart, however, those that are ambitious enough to want one can sign up with the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and they will notify interested parties when new lighthouses become available. At approximately 700 square feet, a lighthouse could become an amazing and unique vacation get-a-way.
By: Kristi Cereska