The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is accepting bids for four lighthouses in Michigan, as part of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act (NHLPA) program’s effort to find new owners for these historic structures.
PassageMaker recently spotlighted a Maryland lighthouse that is now for sale under the same program. Reader response was so strong, we decided to focus on the Michigan properties. If you visit the GSA auction site, and take a look at the interior images, you will probably conclude they are not nearly as nice as the one near Baltimore.
Information on the Lighthouses
- Fourteen Foot Shoal Light, built in 1929, was named for the shallow 14 foot deep water that exists where the light is built. The 36 foot offshore light is white with a red lantern roof and is located at the northern end of Lake Huron, marking a narrow and shallow passage way that ships must navigate to Lake Michigan.
- Lansing Shoal Light, constructed in 1928, is located 11 miles north of Beaver Island, Michigan, and aids ships navigating the Straits of Mackinac. The square masonry lighthouse sits upon a square concrete basement supported atop a stone filler timber crib and stands 69 feet high. Lansing Shoal Light was one of the last offshore lights to be built on the Great Lakes.
- Detroit River Light, built in 1885, is a 55 foot offshore light located approximately two miles offshore in Lake Erie, and marks the entrance to the Detroit River. The light's crib is shaped like the front of a boat to break ice that travels from the Detroit River.
- Poe Reef Light was constructed in 1929, and it is white with black markings and a red roof on its lantern room. The 71 foot light marks a shallow reef for ships heading west to Lake Michigan and works with Fourteen Foot Shoal Light to guide ships safely through this hazardous channel in Lake Huron.
- As part of the NHLPA program, GSA is offering these lighthouses through an online auction at realestatesales.gov.
- Through this innovative program, proceeds from the public sales go back into the USCG’s aid to navigation fund, a fund that pays for the equipment, maintenance, and resources (fog horns, lights, battery cells, solar panels, etc.) to continue preservation and maintenance of lighthouses that are still active.
- Interested bidders will need to complete an online registration form and submit a registration deposit.
- These lighthouses occupy Great Lakes Public Trust bottomlands owned by the state of Michigan. The state will require any purchaser to enter into a Private Use Agreement for lease of bottomlands prior to any use or occupancy of a lighthouse. The lights will also serve as an active aid to navigation, which will remain the personal property of the USCG.
GSA’s Great Lakes Regional Administrator Ann P. Kalayil said GSA has a responsibility to dispose of excess government real estate assets, including historic lighthouses:
“Lighthouses like these in Michigan have deep roots and sentimental value as local historic landmarks. Through public sales, GSA is able to save taxpayer dollars on operation and maintenance of these lights while helping to find new owners who can preserve these treasures.”
Since 2000, GSA has administered the NHLPA with its partners, the National Park Service and the United States Coast Guard. To date, 119 lighthouses have been sold or transferred out of federal ownership, with 74 transferred at no cost to preservationists, and 45 sold by auction to the public.