Politics and Government

Look out, it's lighthouse season. The government is offering 10 fixer-uppers

The Keweenaw Waterway Lower Entrance Light in Chassell, Mich., dates to 1919. Interested? The federal government is now taking applications to transfer the property to a new owner who promises to maintain the historic structure.
The Keweenaw Waterway Lower Entrance Light in Chassell, Mich., dates to 1919. Interested? The federal government is now taking applications to transfer the property to a new owner who promises to maintain the historic structure.
Luke Barrett/General Services Administration via AP

Have you been longing for a remote lifestyle, waterfront views or the lulling sounds of the sea? Do you have a passion for historical restoration? The federal government might have just the thing.

Ten lighthouses across the U.S. are being sold or given away for free by the General Services Administration.

For centuries, lighthouses have served as guardians for mariners, protecting them from perilous seas and guiding them to safety. But these days, modern navigation technology, like GPS, has rendered the towers less essential.

Today, as a way to preserve the historic beacons and to relieve taxpayers of the maintenance costs, the GSA offers up lighthouses to the public every May.

And during this year's "lighthouse season," the GSA is offloading a record number of properties, the agency said Friday.

Six lighthouses will be transferred at no cost to federal, state or local governments, nonprofits, educational organizations or other groups, if they commit to upkeep of the properties and to make them publicly available for educational, recreational or cultural purposes. Four other lighthouses will be auctioned off to the public online starting next month.

Little Mark Island and Monument stands between Broad Sound and Casco Bay, off the coast of Harpswell, Maine.
Little Mark Island and Monument stands between Broad Sound and Casco Bay, off the coast of Harpswell, Maine.
Barbara Salfity/General Services Administration via AP

Since the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act was passed in 2000, allowing the government to transfer lighthouse ownership, more than 150 lighthouses have gone to new owners, including 81 that have been handed to government agencies and nonprofits, and 70 that have been sold to the public.

Historically, auction sales have ranged from $10,000 to $933,888, according to the GSA.

The six properties available at no cost to eligible applicants are: the Lynde Point Lighthouse in Old Saybrook, Conn.; the Nobska Lighthouse in Falmouth, Mass.; the Plymouth (Gurnet) Lighthouse in Plymouth, Mass.; the Warwick Neck Light in Warwick, R.I.; the Little Mark Island and Monument in Harpswell, Maine; and the Erie Harbor North Pier Lighthouse in Erie, Penn. (The intital offering period for the Pennsylvania one recently closed.)

Plymouth Light Station, which dates to 1842, stands near Cape Cod Bay and Plymouth Bay, in Plymouth, Mass.
Plymouth Light Station, which dates to 1842, stands near Cape Cod Bay and Plymouth Bay, in Plymouth, Mass.
Paul Hughes/General Services Administration via AP

The lighthouses that will be sold by auction are: the Penfield Reef Lighthouse in Fairfield, Conn.; the Stratford Shoal Light in East Setauket, N.Y.; the Cleveland Harbor West Pierhead Light in Cleveland, Ohio; and the Keweenaw Waterway Lower Entrance Light in Chassell, Mich.

John Kelly, director of the GSA's office of real property disposition, told The Associated Press that he has a personal favorite of the bunch.

Warwick Neck Light in Rhode Island, a 51-foot high lighthouse built in 1827, "has a real 'wow' factor when you get out and look at it," Kelly said.

"Warwick Neck is really at quite a prominent location up on a cliff overlooking Narragansett Bay."

Warwick Neck Light, erected in 1827, offers views of Narragansett Bay, in Warwick, R.I.
Warwick Neck Light, erected in 1827, offers views of Narragansett Bay, in Warwick, R.I.
Barbara Salfity/General Services Administration via AP

Go ahead, take a break from the Zillow surfing and check out the lighthouses on offer, most of which are more than 100 years old.

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