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Want a Lighthouse? Feds Giving Them Away

100 sold in 14 years, unknown number still available
By Shelley Hazen,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2014 1:41 PM CDT
Want a Lighthouse? Feds Giving Them Away
The Boon Island Light Station sits in the Gulf of Maine about six miles off the coast of York, Maine.   (AP Photo/U.S. General Services Administration, Jeremy D'Entremont)

(Newser) – Ever wish your man cave or summer retreat was in a lighthouse? You may be in luck, now that the federal government is selling or giving away dozens of them, the AP reports. They've shed 100 obsolete or unneeded lighthouses in 14 years, 68 of them freebies handed off to preservation groups and the other 36 sold at auction. The agency handling the lighthouse purging has no target number to sell or give away, but the US Coast Guard wants to retire 71 considered "no longer critical" to its mission, says a spokesman. Don't feel bad for the iconic historic structures—the easily accessible ones get a second life as museums, private homes, or bed-and-breakfasts. The ones needing some TLC or cut off from civilization, however, generally languish on the auction block.

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By finding new "stewards" for their lighthouses, the government says it's ensuring their preservation. Public groups or nonprofits can apply to get one, and if no one is interested the lighthouse goes to auction, the agency explains. That's how Dave Waller got the Graves Island Light Station in Boston Harbor for nearly $1 million, and Art Girard bought the tallest lighthouse in New England (Maine's Boon Island Light Station) for $78,000, reports the AP. More for sale signs can be found outside lighthouses on both coasts and the Great Lakes. The feds will alert you when a new one is up for sale; and the AP provides this list of available lighthouses in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Michigan. (Click for more on the sale of New England's tallest lighthouse.)

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