The General Services Administration (GSA) is giving away lighthouses in states such as Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and others along the eastern coast.
The GSA no longer considers these lighthouses useful, partly due to the widespread availability of GPS technology.
Entities that are willing to maintain, preserve, and provide public access to these towering beacons for educational, cultural, or recreational purposes can acquire them for free. Local government agencies, nonprofits, and educational organizations are encouraged to express their interest.
In the event that no offers are received from the federal government, the six lighthouses available for giveaway will be put up for public auction. Notable lighthouses include the 51-foot Warwick Neck Light in Warwick, Rhode Island, and the 34-foot Gurnet Light in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Other lighthouses up for grabs include the Lynde Point Lighthouse in Old Saybrook, Connecticut; the Nobska Lighthouse in Falmouth, Massachusetts; the Little Mark Island and Monument in Harpswell, Maine; and the Erie Harbor North Pier Lighthouse on Presque Isle, Pennsylvania.
According to John Kelly, the director of real property disposition at the GSA, lighthouses hold a special place in the nation’s history, as he mentioned to the Associated Press.
“They were really 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,” he said.
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According to Kelly, he personally admires the lighthouse in Warwick, Rhode Island, which is among those being given away. This particular lighthouse has a rich history, dating back to 1827, and offers a picturesque view of Narragansett Bay.
Apart from the lighthouses being given away, four other lighthouses have already been scheduled for auction starting in June 2023. One of them is the Stratford Shoal Lighthouse, located in the middle of Long Island Sound, between New York and Connecticut. These lighthouses are being offered for private use.
In a 2017 report, The New York Times stated that six lighthouses sold by the GSA fetched prices ranging from $10,000 to $27,000. However, the article also cautioned that maintaining these structures can be quite expensive.
Since the introduction of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act in 2000, the GSA has given away or sold over 150 lighthouses. The proceeds from these transactions, totaling $10 million, have been used to support the United States Coast Guard.