Mystery bidder offers $5,000 minimum for Maine island lighthouse

Built in 1855, Boon Island Lighthouse rises 133 feet above its namesake island, located several miles east of York. The tower flashes a white light every five seconds; when weather conditions are right, the fog horn sounds 10 seconds. The lighthouse is licensed to the American Lighthouse Foundation.
Brian Swartz | BDN
Built in 1855, Boon Island Lighthouse rises 133 feet above its namesake island, located several miles east of York. The tower flashes a white light every five seconds; when weather conditions are right, the fog horn sounds 10 seconds. The lighthouse is licensed to the American Lighthouse Foundation. Buy Photo
Posted May 27, 2014, at 5:50 p.m.
Last modified May 28, 2014, at 9:27 a.m.

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YORK, Maine — A $5,000 bid has been placed to buy Boon Island Light Station, according to information online from the U.S. Government Services Administration, the real estate arm of the federal government.

The name of the bidder is not listed. The $5,000 bid, the minimum that can be made, was placed May 21, according to realestatesales.gov.

Bidding opened earlier this month, but the end date for the auction is left open, according to the website.

GSA spokesman Patrick Sclafani could not be reached for comment.

In December, Sclafani said Boon Island Light would be sold to the highest bidder, since no historic preservation or nonprofit organization stepped forward to become stewards.

Any individual can now own the historic lighthouse and small island six miles off the York coast. Restrictions apply, and the owner must continue to have the property serve as a navigational aid maintained by the United States Coast Guard, according to the GSA.

The islet is a barren outcrop of granite reaching 14 feet above sea level, according to the GSA.

Boon Island Light Station has a 133-foot tapered tower composed of ashlar granite, punctuated by two vertical rows of seven windows, according to information online from the GSA. The interior of the tower contains a circular stairway that leads to a door at the parapet. A tall granite shaft holds the lantern, it states. There is a small shed on the site that may be a remnant of a boathouse; the ruins of the former keeper’s house are visible, it said.

In December 1710, prior to the construction of the light tower or other buildings, the Nottingham Galley was shipwrecked at Boon Island. The crew survived by resorting to cannibalism.

The lighthouse was automated after the blizzard of February 1978. Its original Fresnel lens, installed in 1855, is now on display at the Kittery Historical and Naval Museum.

The U.S. Coast Guard each year makes available an estimated five lighthouses in New England and the Great Lakes, according to Sclafani.

 

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