Bidding war takes off for Maine lighthouse; auction deadline extended

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.
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.
Posted Aug. 12, 2014, at 3:53 p.m.
Last modified Aug. 12, 2014, at 9:56 p.m.

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YORK, Maine — Bidding for Boon Island Light has been extended through 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 13, according to Patrick Sclafani, spokesman for the U.S. General Services Administration, the real estate arm of the federal government.

That end of auction date may also be moved as interest in the light appears to be gaining, he said.

There are currently 10 bidders engaged in a potential “bidding war,” with the top bid price as of Tuesday at $41,000, according to Sclafani.

Bidding was originally set to end around noon Tuesday, he said.

The GSA does not release the names of the bidders, their interest in owning the light, nor whether they are private individuals or organizations, according to Sclafani.

The winning bidder will not be announced by the GSA until after the closing, he said.

Boon Island Light Station is located on a small, barren island 6 miles off the coast of York.

Sclafani said last year that Boon Island Light would be sold to the highest bidder, as no historic preservation or nonprofit organization had stepped forward to become stewards.

Bidding began earlier this spring, with a starting price of $5,000.

Restrictions to ownership apply. The owner must continue to have the property serve as a navigational aid maintained by the United States Coast Guard, according to the GSA.

It has a 133-foot tapered tower composed of ashlar granite, punctuated by two vertical rows of seven windows, according to 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 which may be a remnant of a boathouse; the ruins of the former keeper’s house are visible, it said.

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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