You can buy a lighthouse. What would you do with it? The Boon Island Light Station sits in the Gulf of Maine about six miles off the coast of York, Maine. It is New England's tallest at 133-feet (AP photos)
You can buy a lighthouse. What would you do with it?
Lexile

Lighthouses for sale! Actually, lots of lighthouses for free.

Technological advances and a desire to purge unneeded properties have paved the way for the federal government to get rid of more than 100 lighthouses over the last 14 years. And it intends to keep selling and giving them away. The sold lighthouses, located on both coasts and in the Great Lakes states, have become everything from museums to bed-and-breakfasts.

Dave Waller purchased the Graves Island Light Station in the mouth of Boston Harbor for a record $933,888 last year. He is turning lighthouse into a private home that can double as a vacation rental. He wants to create a bedroom as far as possible from the foghorn. It's a challenging feat in a building with about 750 feet of livable space.

"It just seemed like a chance to have something a little more independent and on your own," Waller said.

Sixty-eight of the lighthouses have gone for free to preservationists. Another 36 were sold at public auction, thanks to the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000. It allows the government to dispose of federally owned lighthouses. The Coast Guard, which maintains lighthouses, has 71 other lighthouses ready up to go through the transfer process. Four are at auction now.

The Coast Guard owns 254 lighthouses. The question is more about which ones it will keep than which ones it will eventually sell, said Jeff Gales, executive director of the nonprofit U.S. Lighthouse Society.

"There is an end in sight," Gales said. "There's a limited number of lighthouses."

The federal General Services Administration sells the lighthouses. It is nearing the end of an online auction for the Halfway Rock Light Station off of Harpswell, Maine. The lighthouse has attracted a half dozen bidders and a high bid of more than $240,000. That's a good figure for a lighthouse that is only accessible by boat, Gales said.

Some lighthouses, typically those that are easily to get to by land, are transferred swiftly to preservation groups. Others that are offshore or in need of heavy maintenance receive no bidders. Still others attract the eye of private investors, such as Boston's Waller.

Critical thinking challenge: How does the government benefit from selling the lighthouses, in both the short term and the long term?

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COMMENTS (141)
  • BriceLPurple
    9/09/2014 - 11:55 a.m.

    That is so cool! give me one!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • NicholasKGreen
    9/09/2014 - 12:04 p.m.

    No matter the condition of the lighthouse I would buy it for te sake of having a prvate island, something isolated from the rest of civilization. It has been my dream since I was 6 to build a cottage on a private island.

  • Matthewca-Fre
    9/09/2014 - 12:24 p.m.

    According to the text it sounds like this man bought a light house and has turned it in to a house, which is pretty cool. I would want a light house because, it would be neat to see all the different boats out there. You could hear all the different fog horns on these boats. I would also get some food and spend a week in one of the light houses.

  • mollyb-Orv
    9/09/2014 - 01:16 p.m.

    If I had a light house i would probably paint it and make it noticeable. I never thought that you could buy a light house I just thought they were there. I am guessing that the bills would be alot to pay for the light every day, but it would a cool experience to have one.

  • Juan_sv6
    9/09/2014 - 02:12 p.m.

    If I buy a lighthouse I would at night keep the light on. Next I would keep it clean. And also something happens to the lighthouse I would fix. The lighthouse can help ships to see where they are for they don`t have to crash on land. And you have to take care when you buy a lighthouse.

  • Eugene0808-YYCA
    9/10/2014 - 12:37 a.m.

    I think this is cool because you could own a lighthouse for free pretty much. Why would someone buy a light house for $933,888? I think this is because the person who bought this, was bidding for the lighthouse in an auction. I am glad the government is selling the lighthouses so they can put them to good use. I want a lighthouse because then i would use it to play inside like hide and seek.
    Critical Thinking Challenge: How does the government benefit from selling the lighthouses, in both the short term and the long term?
    Answer: The government benefits from selling the lighthouses by earning money from the sales and the citizens who buy the lighthouses, they get to make the lighthouse more useful.

  • MS01bestfreind
    9/10/2014 - 01:07 p.m.

    If I bought a light house I would keep it clean. I would love to buy a light house because it helps people that are traveling over seas. and it would be good to help people then selfish.

  • garrett3-Bor
    9/10/2014 - 01:40 p.m.

    I think they are doing this because of tec. and they don't need it any more and selling them so they can get alot of money to do what they want

  • 091101
    9/11/2014 - 05:16 a.m.

    The Coast Guard owns 254 lighthouses. The question is more about which ones it will keep than which ones it will eventually sell, said Jeff Gales, executive director of the nonprofit U.S. Lighthouse Society.

  • gage425
    9/11/2014 - 12:09 p.m.

    WOW! Living in a lighthouse I mean that would be so awsome living on a island soaking up the rays haha that would be so cool if i had some money. I'm just dreaming!

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