After no entity stepped forward to take a number of Coast Guard lighthouses that were offered for free under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act by the General Services Administration, they have been offered for free to the highest bidder.
It may be understandable why none of Michigan’s nonprofits or government entities wanted the Skillagalee Lighthouse. The lighthouse, also known as the Ile Aux Galets Lighthouse, stands alone on a small island about the size of two football fields in Lake Michigan near the community of Cross Village. The keeper’s house was blown up by the Coast Guard in 1969. But someone with deep pockets could restore the tower and rebuild a replica of the keeper’s house that would make an excellent summer home or bed and breakfast for scuba divers to explore the shipwrecks just off the island.
It’s easy to understand why no one wants Gravelly Shoal Lighthouse. Built in 1939, about five miles off-shore from Aux Gres Township in Michigan, it was never designed as a manned lighthouse and there is no place for anyone to stay out there. The only reason someone might want to purchase the lighthouse would be for bragging rights, which could be expensive – the government requires that any new owner must maintain the structure.
The location of Michigan’s Spectacle Reef Lighthouse, 11 miles offshore of Bois Blanc Island in Michigan, is probably why no nonprofit group wanted the 1874 lighthouse that is considered by most as one of the premier examples of monolithic stone masonry in the United States. The waters around the lighthouse can often be dangerous and the winter ice can be brutal on the structure. But if a private individual does purchase the lighthouse, he or she will have bragging rights that they own a lighthouse that was once featured on a U.S. postage stamp.
The one lighthouse that is being offered up for auction that is expected to get a new owner is the 1913 Miah Maull Lighthouse in the Delaware Bay off the coast of New Jersey. The large lighthouse, with its numerous rooms, could, to the right person, be restored back to its original condition as a unique vacation home or bed and breakfast.
This story appeared in the
Sep/Oct 2015 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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