Sunday, June 04, 2023
In an effort to preserve historic lighthouses across the country, the United States government has announced its plan to give away and sell these iconic structures, as reported by USA Today. As part of the annual event known as "lighthouse season," a total of 10 lighthouse properties are up for grabs this year.
Out of the 10 lighthouses, six will be offered free of charge to federal agencies, state and local governments, nonprofits, educational agencies, and community development organisations, according to the US General Services Administration (GSA). However, if suitable owners cannot be found for these six lighthouses, they will also be made available for online auction.
The remaining four lighthouses will be put up for public auction, allowing anyone to fulfil their dream of owning a lighthouse.
The primary objective of these transfers is to ensure the preservation of these historic buildings, even as advancements in technology render them obsolete. With the advent of modern technology, such as GPS navigation systems, lighthouses have become less essential for maritime navigation, leading to the demolition or neglect of many of these iconic structures.
Lighthouses have historically served as vital beacons, guiding sailors and ships along dangerous coastlines, marking underwater hazards like rocks and reefs, and indicating safe entry points into harbours. However, as navigation technology evolved, the importance of lighthouses diminished, resulting in their neglect or destruction.
John Kelly from the GSA's office of real property disposition expressed that people greatly value the significant role played by lighthouse keepers. These brave individuals acted as guardians, ensuring safe passage for ships into treacherous harbours that brought prosperity to coastal communities. Moreover, lighthouses are often situated in prominent locations, offering breathtaking views.
In the past, some lighthouses that were purchased have been transformed into unique private residences, catering to those seeking an extraordinary living experience.
Since the establishment of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act in 2000, the GSA has been actively transferring ownership of lighthouses that are no longer critical to the US Coast Guard's mission. The aim is to find groups willing to preserve these historical landmarks. To date, 150 lighthouses have been transferred, with 80 given away and another 70 auctioned, raising over $10 million in funds for their preservation and maintenance.