Historic Michigan Lighthouses Hit GSA Auction Block

Online auction allows the public to own a piece of history

CHICAGO – The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announces the public sale of four lighthouses in Michigan, as part of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act (NHLPA) program’s effort to find new owners for these historic structures.

Information on the Lighthouses

  • The iconic White Shoal Light, a major engineering feat at the time of construction in 1901, is located offshore 20 miles west of the Mackinac Bridge on Lake Michigan. The red and white tower has a terracotta, steel, and brick interior, and is featured on a state of Michigan license plate.
  • Gray’s Reef Light, built in 1936, is located four miles west of Waugoshance Island on Lake Michigan. The historic 82-foot light has a square tower with steel plate construction on a concrete crib. The light is an active aid to navigation operated by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG).
  • The offshore North Manitou Shoal Light, constructed in 1935, is located southeast of North Manitou Island, in Leland Township. The light includes a 2-story steel building that housed the living quarters and a 63-foot tall steel tower constructed on top for the automated light. The historic light remains an active aid to navigation operated by the USCG.
  • Minneapolis Shoal Light marks the entrance to Little Bay De Noc in Delta County. The 82-foot high octagonal lighthouse sits on a 32-foot square metal structure that housed the living quarters for the keeper. The light was constructed in 1934 and was the last manned lighthouse to mark an isolated reef. It remains an active aid to navigation operated by the USCG.

About the Auctions

  • As part of the NHLPA program, GSA is offering these lighthouses through an online auction at realestatesales.gov.
  • Through this innovative program, proceeds from the public sales go back into the USCG’s aid to navigation fund, a fund that pays for the equipment, maintenance, and resources (fog horns, lights, battery cells, solar panels, etc.) to continue preservation and maintenance of lighthouses that are still active.
  • Interested bidders will need to complete an online registration form and submit a registration deposit.
  • These lighthouses occupy Great Lakes Public Trust bottomlands owned by the state of Michigan. The state will require any purchaser to enter into a Private Use Agreement for lease of bottomlands prior to any use or occupancy of a lighthouse. The lights will also serve as an active aid to navigation, which will remain the personal property of the USCG.

GSA’s Great Lakes Regional Administrator Ann P. Kalayil said GSA has a responsibility to dispose of excess government real estate assets, including historic lighthouses:

“Lighthouses like these in Michigan have deep roots and sentimental value as local historic landmarks. Through public sales, GSA is able to save taxpayer dollars on operation and maintenance of these lights while helping to find new owners who can preserve these treasures.”

Since 2000, GSA has administered the NHLPA with its partners, the National Park Service and the United States Coast Guard. To date, 119 lighthouses have been sold or transferred out of federal ownership, with 74 transferred at no cost to preservationists, and 45 sold by auction to the public.

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Last Reviewed 2016-07-27