Wisconsin Point Lighthouse up for grabsAfter 100 years of service, the Superior entry lighthouse has been declared excess to the needs of the U.S. Coast Guard.
By: Duluth News Tribune, Superior Telegram
After 100 years of service, the Superior entry lighthouse has been declared excess to the needs of the U.S. Coast Guard.
The federal government is offering the historic structure free to any eligible entity for educational, recreational, cultural or historic preservation purposes. The National Park Service will review applicants. If an eligible public body or nonprofit organization doesn’t come forward, the lighthouse will go on the auction block.
Whoever takes control of the lighthouse will have to agree to several conditions. The structure is on the National Register of Historic Places, and any new owner must maintain the structure to federal standards. In addition, Coast Guard will reserve an unrestricted right to enter the structure to service, replace or move the still-operating aids to navigation.
Construction of the lighthouse began in 1911. It replaced a temporary light used since the November 1905 Mataafa Storm washed away an earlier light. The lighthouse consists of a rectangular concrete fog signal building topped by a cylindrical tower 56 feet tall. Its light was first lit in 1913 and automated in 1970. The light flashes green every five seconds; its fog signal sounds three seconds twice a minute seconds as needed.
The Superior lighthouse is not the only one the federal government is making available for free transfer under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 this year; one in Connecticut and five in Michigan are also available.
The NHLPA recognizes the importance of historic light stations by allowing them to be transferred at no cost to eligible groups. Only light stations listed or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places can be transferred under this program. Light stations that are not eligible are disposed of by other means.
According to the most recent NHLPA report, 84 light stations were transferred to new public and private owners between 2000 and the end of 2011. Of those 56 changed hands through no-cost transfers and 28 were sold for a total of more than $2.9 million.
The government offered the light tower next to the Aerial Lift Bridge on Duluth’s south breakwater for free transfer under the program in 2007. After no public, nonprofit or educational group expressed an interest, the government sold it at public auction in 2008.