On Sunday, the federal government closed the auction for Boon Island Light Station, a lighthouse located on a rock island in the Gulf of Maine.
Boon Island Light is the tallest lighthouse in New England and Maine with a height of 133 feet. The location of the lighthouse has a history dating back to 1710 when a British merchant ship called Nottingham Galley was shipwrecked in the location.
There were 14 men aboard the ship, two died of injuries, and two more drowned after trying to reach the mainland using a raft. The remaining men were able to stay alive in the cold with no fire and food for 24 days. However, they had to resort to cannibalism to survive until they were rescued.
There is also a legend about the lighthouse that says a keeper died while on the island with his wife. Upon his death, his wife had to care for the station until she went insane. Legend says that a rescue ship found her wandering the island.
The original lighthouse on the island was built for the War of 1812, but the tower was destroyed due to bad weather in 1831. The lighthouse we see today was built in 1855. Today, the buildings and the keeper’s house are gone and what’s left is the granite lighthouse.
According to Trib Live, the auction for the lighthouse started in May and was scheduled to end on August 12. However, the government extended it to last Sunday. Reports indicate that the highest bidder at the auction placed $78,000 for the lighthouse. However, the federal government has to evaluate and verify the top bid before closing the deal and announcing the new owner of the lighthouse.
Executive Director of the United States Lighthouse Society Jeff Gales said, “This is a very desolate place. And you can imagine what I would look like in the wintertime.”
Times Argus reports that more than 100 lighthouses have been sold by the federal government since 2000. Out of those, 68 were transferred at no additional cost to preservation societies and 36 lighthouses were auctioned off to the public.
The government also said that some lighthouses are difficult to sell because of their condition or location. However, other lighthouses such as the Graves Island Light Station can sell for almost a million dollars.
The federal government is selling another lighthouse in Casco Bay, the Halfway Rock Light Station. As of writing, the lighthouse has three bidders, with the highest one at $56,000.
[Image via Lighthouse Friends]