Under the provisions of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 (NHLPA), several more lighthouses are up for transfer from the Coast Guard to a suitable new steward. The latest group announced in June and July 2004 includes Maine's Petit Manan, Goose Rocks and Cuckolds Lights, Rhode Island's Hog Island Shoal Light, Connecticut's Tongue Point Light, and Michigan's DeTour Reef, Fort Gratiot, and Harbor Beach Lights.
Last August 18-19, 2004, the Coast Guard and General Services Administration (GSA) provided site visits for interested parties to Petit Manan and Goose Rocks Lights. Representatives of the American Lighthouse Foundation of Wells, Maine, and Historically Significant Structures, Inc. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania were on board for the visits. The trips left from the Coast Guard's Aids to Navigation facility at Southwest Harbor and were hampered by thick fog on both days. A small peapod boat was used to transfer passengers from the 55-foot aids to navigation boat to the lighthouses.
Petit Manan Island, located far up the Maine coast off the towns of Milbridge and Steuben, is part of the Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge. It is home to nesting puffins and endangered roseate terns among other species, and because of this public access was not allowed from April 1 through August this year. U.S. Fish and Wildlife owns the keeper's house and other buildings on the island. The transfer will include only the 1854 granite lighthouse, Maine's second tallest at 119 feet, and a helipad.
Goose Rocks Light, built in 1890, is a cast iron caisson lighthouse of the type often referred to as “sparkplug” lights. It's located at the eastern entrance to the Fox Islands Thorofare between North Haven and Vinalhaven islands off Maine's midcoast. Keepers lived inside the 51-foot tower until its automation in 1963.
The National Park Service will provide applications to interested parties, and will then review and evaluate the submitted applications. The difficulty of access to these lights will make preservation daunting for any new owner, but hopefully a way will be found to preserve these lights for many years to come.
For complete details on the NHLPA, visit their web page: www.cr.nps.gov/maritime/nhlpa/nhlpa.htm
This story appeared in the
October 2004 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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