Thanks to GSA’s National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act (NHLPA) program, people have an opportunity to own or manage their very own guiding light. Some lighthouses are bought by organizations, others by individuals.
So after a lighthouse is bought, what happens next? Let’s examine a recent lighthouse that was auctioned off via GSAAuctions.gov.
Boon Island Light Station – Tallest Lighthouse in New England
Boon Island Light Station, a 133-foot tapered tower composed of ashlar granite, is located on a small islet off the southern coast of Maine, six miles southeast from Cape Neddick in York County. The tower is the tallest lighthouse in New England and the second lighthouse to occupy the islet. The first was built during the War of 1812 and destroyed in 1831. Boon Island Light Station was built more than two decades later in 1855.
On August 16, 2014, the GSA online auction for Boon Island Light Station closed with a high bid of $78,000. Thirteen bidders participated in the online auction, most of whom were from Maine. The high bidder will receive the lighthouse, islet, and the remains of the original keeper’s dwelling and helipad. Since there is no dock on the islet, Boon Island Light Station is only accessible by helicopter.
GSA awards the property by letter to the high bidder. The bidder has three days to send in a 10 percent deposit to GSA and no more that 90 days to close. GSA then sends a draft deed to both the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and the winner to review. The deed contains historic preservation covenants and easements to the USCG for continued access. GSA executes the deed once the final payment is made. Proceeds are returned to the USCG to aid navigation teams.
Boon Island Light Station is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and will continue to serve as a navigational aid maintained by the USCG. Historically, new owners have chosen to use lighthouses in a variety of ways, including for personal use, private or seasonal residence, or a bed and breakfast.