Recent advances in GPS and navigation mean many of the wave-washed towers dotting the country’s coasts are no longer necessary for the survival of the shipping industry. Instead of abandoning these historic structures, the U.S. government now regularly offers up old Coast Guard lighthouses to anyone able and willing to take them on.
Lighthouses are put up for auction by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and will go to the person with the highest bid, usually in the five or six figures (The Coast Guars is also selling a few on Lake Michigan). The feds try to give away the structures to non-profits, educational institutions, or community groups that might want to put the lighthouses to use for educational or cultural purposes. Understandably, not that many organizations jump at the opportunity to own odd towers surrounded in large part by miles of open water.
At the moment, six historic lighthouses in Connecticut and Michigan are up for grabs, with the most alluring (and expensive) being the Penfield Reef Lighthouse in Long Island Sound. The building includes a 1,568-square-foot home for the lighthouse keeper and a 51-foot-tall octagonal tower built in 1874.
If you fancy a private home with an expansive view, move fast; the bidding has already reached $210,000.