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Three Great Lakes Lighthouses for sale

A forum to discuss lighthouses in the US Great Lakes Region
(Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and the lake lighthouses of New York & Pennsylvania)

Postby jaymatt1978 » Mon Aug 25, 2008 7:52 pm


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Postby NoahG » Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:53 am


wow. In my mind those are some rather well known lights. I thought some people had applied for Conneaut, guess they didn't qualify. And after the uproar when the Cleveland east breakwater light was removed with no one knowing where it went, its interesting that it, too, is to be sold.

It's strange to think of that Duluth light in private hands. A pity such a high profile light didn't find a taker.

This is where the auction process will get interesting. Before, the GSA has mainly been selling offshore caisson lights. While remote, these lights allow their buyers to have an entire dwelling, which, with the help of modern technology, can have all the conveniences of home.

With the lights currently for sale, it isn't exactly easy to "live in" the lighthouse. Looking at a light like Conneaut, while I'd love to own a light like that, will the "average" buyer feel the same?

Also, a question for Terry. You stated previously that there has been trouble over agreements regarding the bottomlands that pierhead and offshore lighthouses sit on. How will a private individual be able to own a light such as the Cleveland Breakwater when the highly sucessful DRLPS can't even clarify their status regarding bottomlands?
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Postby Terry_Pepper » Fri Aug 29, 2008 3:55 pm


Both the Cleveland East Breakwater light and the Duluth South Breakwater Rear Range lights are located on piers or breakwaters which are owned and maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers. As such, they are not sitting directly on state bottomlands.

Also, I do not know if Minnesota and Ohio view protection of their bottomlands with the same ardent fervor as does the Michigan DEQ.
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Postby LighthouseNews » Fri Aug 29, 2008 4:43 pm


I wouldn't doubt if the two states (MN and OH) are just as ardent. It's a common problem, as evidenced by MD having the same territorialism on the bottomlands of the Chesapeake Bay. DE is the same, too.

I've been corresponding with a purchaser of lighthouses from the GSA auctions, in preparation for an article touching on this issue.

Unfortunately, most non-profits lack the money to take it to the next level, and it's also very time consuming.

A little quote from my source, highlighting only one small part of this equation:

Again the point is that as long as it is active operated by the Coast Guard, Federal law requires that jurisdiction remain with the Federal Government and as such it is exempt from state taxation. Once the light is deactivated then the title to the submerged lands automatically reverts back to the state and then the state can bar use of the lighthouse or tax it. The issue is whether the lighthouse is operational.


There is lots more, but that's one of the issues facing non-profits, and purchasers alike.
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Postby Terry_Pepper » Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:00 pm


The as yet unanswered question is what would happen were the new steward to register the lighthouse as a PATON after the light were no longer deemed necessary by the Coast Guard. It would then reappear in the Light Lists.
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Postby NoahG » Sat Aug 30, 2008 7:40 am


Good information as always, Terry. So many variables yet undefined. I thought that was how it worked for pierheadlights, but I'd rather ask than assume.
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