Wish To Own a Lighthouse? US Government Is Giving Away 6. But There's a Catch
If you have been fascinated with lighthouses and love spending time there, now's your chance to own one. The US General Services Administration is offering six lighthouses to federal, state, or local government agencies, nonprofits, educational organizations, or other entities willing to maintain, preserve make them accessible to the public for recreational, educational, and cultural purposes, according to CNBC.
The free lighthouses are in Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. Four more lighthouses in Ohio, Connecticut, Michigan and New York will be sold in a public auction, the report added.
While the lighthouses are free, the new owners will be responsible for the maintenance of the lighthouse. They should be able to make them livable and will be required to pay property taxes.
John Kelly of GSA's office told TIME that because of the development of modern technology, including GPS, these massive structures are no longer useful for navigation. However, they remain tourist attractions.
"People appreciate the heroic role of the solitary lighthouse keeper,” Kelly told the publication. "They were the instruments to provide safe passage into some of these perilous harbors which afforded communities great opportunities for commerce, and they’re often located in prominent locations that offer breathtaking views."
How Does It Feel To Own a Lighthouse?
The 52-year-old owner of an industrial painting service company, Richard Cuce, used most of his life savings to buy the Hopper Island Lighthouse in the Chesapeake Bay at a government auction for $192,000. He told CNBC that the renovation of the lighthouse is currently underway and he has plans to spend a whopping $1 million to restore it.
"It is truly a labor of love. I often wonder if the whole thing is a bad idea, but then I will have a good day that makes me think it will all be worthwhile," he told CNBC.
Is This The First Time Government is Giving Away Lighthouses?
No, the GSA has been transferring ownership of lighthouses since the National Historic Lighthouse Prevention Act was passed in 2000. Since then, around 150 lighthouses have been transferred, out of which 80 were simply given away while others were auctioned.
The Six Lighthouses
The lighthouses up for sale include the 34-foot-tall Plymouth/Gurnet Light in Massachusetts that dates back to 1842. The second lighthouse is Warwick Neck Light, in Warwick, Rhode Island. The 51foot-tall lighthouse that dates to 1827 was an important navigation tool for mariners, as per The Guardian.
Other lighthouses include Lynde Point Lighthouse in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, Nobska Lighthouse in Falmouth, Massachusetts, Little Mark Island and Monument in Harpswell, Maine, and Erie Harbor North Pier Lighthouse in Pennsylvania.
“Some are already maintained by non-profits, and those agencies will have the opportunity to apply to continue doing so,” Kelly said. GSA also said that if a new owner of the lighthouse is not determined then it will be available for competitive bidding.
History Of Lighthouses in America
According to TIME, about 300 years ago on September 14, 1716, the Boston Light began shining its light, becoming America's first lighthouse. Since then more than 1,000 lighthouses were built along the country's coasts that welcome mariners from stranger lands.
Some Lighthouses Still In Operation In The US
1. West Point Lighthouse, Seattle, Washington - Located in Discovery Park, the lighthouse's beacons alternates between red and white every 5 seconds.
2. Heceta Head Lighthouse, Florence Oregon- Lit for the very first time in 1894, the lighthouse still stands tall on the coast of Oregon.
3. Pigeon Point Lighthouse, Pescadero, California- The lighthouse is equipped with a Vega marine rotating beacon and is currently under maintenance.