Government Offers Lighthouses for Free
By Margaret Foster | Online Only | July 29, 2009
If you're in the market for a lighthouse, the U.S. Government has a deal for you: a freebie, as long as you can maintain the decommissioned structure.
Every year since 2001, the General Services Administration has offered a selection of former Coast Guard-owned lighthouses. According to the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000, once the Coast Guard declares a lighthouse surplus property, it will be made available at no cost to eligible entities defined as "federal, state and local agencies, non-profit corporations, educational agencies, or community development organizations for education, park, recreation, cultural, or historic preservation purposes." This year, the GSA is offering lights from Maine to Puerto Rico.
Since the giveaway program began, the agency has recommended the transfer of 20 out of 28 lighthouses to new owners. In most cases, according to Meta Cushing, realty specialist for the General Services Administration's Property Disposal Division, a local government or nonprofit steps forward to assume ownership. (There is already interest in Little Gull Light, an 1869 structure in Long Island Sound, she says.)
If there are no takers, the agency auctions the buildings.
"When we have no stewards, then we move to a public competitive sale the following year," Cushing says.
This summer, for example, Cushing is offering a remnant from last year's list: the 1877 East Shoals Charity Light in New York's Lake Ontario.
The 2009 lighthouses are:
Saddleback Ledge Light, Maine
Minot's Ledge Light, Massachusetts
Grand Haven South Pierhead Inner Light, Michigan
Grand Haven South Pierhead Entrance Light, Michigan
Manistee North Pierhead Light, Michigan
Waugoshance Light, Michigan
Robbins Reef Light, New Jersey
Little Gull Light, New York
Race Rock Light, New York
Punta Tuna Light, Puerto Rico
Point No Point Light, Washington
Kewaunee Pierhead Light, Wisconsin
Manitowoc Breakwater Light, Wisconsin
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