Monday, May 29, 2023

Can you imagine owning a lighthouse? The United States is offering some at auction and selling others.

Ten lighthouses that have stood sentinel on the shores of the United States for generations, warning sailors from danger and guiding them to safety, are being given away for free and others are being sold at auction by the federal government.

The General Services Administration program aims to preserve the properties, most of which are over a century old.

John Kelly of the GSA’s Office of Real Property Disposition said advances in modern technology, including GPS, means that headlamps are no longer necessary for navigation. And while the Coast Guard often maintains navigational aids on or near lighthouses, the structures are no longer mission critical.

However, the public is still fascinated by the beacons, which are popular tourist attractions and the subject of countless photographers and artists.

“People really appreciate the heroic role of the lone lighthouse keeper,” he said in explaining his appeal. “They were really a means of providing safe passage to some of these dangerous ports that provided communities with great trade opportunities, and they often offer breathtaking views at key locations.”

The GSA has been transferring ownership of lighthouses since Congress passed the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act in 2000. About 150 lighthouses have been relocated, some 80 have been given away, and another 70 have been auctioned off, raising more than $10 million.

This year, six lighthouses are being offered to federal, state, or local government agencies, non-profit organizations, educational organizations, or other entities that maintain and preserve them and make them available to the public for educational, recreational, or cultural purposes. Willing to provide for. objectives.

These include the 34-foot (10.4-m) long Plymouth/Garnet Light in Massachusetts. The octagonal wooden structure dates to 1842, although a lighthouse has been on the site since 1768. An earlier beacon at the site was cared for by America’s first lighthouse keeper.

Kelly’s personal favorite is Warwick Neck Light in Warwick, RI. Dating to 1827, the 51-foot-tall lighthouse was an important navigational tool for sailors headed to Providence.

Other lighthouses offered at no cost are Lynde Point Lighthouse in Old Saybrook, Connecticut; the Nobska Lighthouse in Falmouth, Massachusetts; Little Mark’s Island and Monument in Harpswell, Maine; and the Erie Harbor North Pier Lighthouse in Pennsylvania.

Some have already been created by nonprofit organizations, and those agencies will have the opportunity to apply to do so, Kelly said.

If a new owner is not found, the lighthouse is offered to competitive bidding at auction.

The four lighthouses put up for auction include the Cleveland Harbor West Pierhead Light, a 50-foot (15.5-m) steel tower from 1911 that is accessible only by boat but has spectacular views of the city skyline.

The others are Penfield Reef Lighthouse in Fairfield, Connecticut; the Stratford Shoal Light in the middle of Long Island Sound between New York and Connecticut; and the Keenawa Waterway Lower Entry Light in Chassell, Michigan.

Some lighthouses that have been purchased in the past have been converted into private residences by people seeking unique living conditions.

“Everyone has their own interesting story,” Kelly said.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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