Digest>Archives> October 1998

Lighthouse For Sale

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The Eagle River Lighthouse on the shores of Lake ...
Photo by: Dave Pincombe

It's not often that a lighthouse comes up for sale. Sometimes they sell almost at once, other times a buyer is hard to find. Just like any other real estate, a lot depends on location and, naturally, money. But one thing is for certain, when one does come up for sale it draws lots of attention.

Nearly everyone has dreamed of owning a lighthouse and more importantly living in a lighthouse. And that's all most of us do, is dream about it. Now, somewhere, someone's dream may soon come true.

The Eagle River Lighthouse on Michigan's Keewenaw Peninsula is now for sale, and at a reasonable price. Owner Jim Vivian, of this Rockwell picturesque town of Eagle River with a winter population of 30 people, says he wants to sell because of health reasons.

Since it was located near the financially successful Cliff Mine, the small village of Eagle River was one of the first communities to develop on the beautiful Keewenaw Peninsula. The first lighthouse in the area was built in 1854. However it was replaced by the current lighthouse around 1874.

Nancy Vittone Paddison, whose maternal great-grandfather purchased the lighthouse from the U.S. Lighthouse Service in 1911 after it was declared excess property in 1908, recalled her childhood days at the lighthouse in her newspaper column for the Houston Chronicle in May of 1997.

She said in that column, "As our vacation home, the lighthouse was a place from which we launched a thousand expeditions, and it was always a haven for family, scattered throughout the country, to renew ties each year." She went on to say that her "first memory was imprinted there, when at the age of 2, I threw a large rock into the lake to make a big splash and fell in with it."

She remembered being at inner peace with herself at the lighthouse. It was a place where she could think clearly and calmly away from the big city. She said it was a sad day when the family sold the lighthouse; it had become a financial burden that could no longer be afforded. She said her father still can not talk about the loss. Her children love to look at the family photo albums of the lighthouse and wish they could get to know it the way she did.

If these are the types of memories you want for yourself and your family, if you want that really special place, if you want a bit of American history, or if you just love upper Michigan, this could be the place for you. And at a $249,000 asking price, it just might be affordable.

Can't afford it on your own? Think about buying it with someone else. It could become a shared vacation home, or like many other lighthouses, turn it into a bed and breakfast so it will support itself.

Whatever the case, Jim Vivian, the current owner, would like to see someone who really loves lighthouses become the new owner.

If you are really and truly interested, you can contact Jim Vivian at HC1 Box 671, Eagle River, Michigan 49924, or call him at 906-337-5586.

This story appeared in the October 1998 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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