Lighthouse free
January 24, 2003 7:44 AM   Subscribe

The National Park Service and US Coast Guard are dumping Lighthouses for free. The catch is you need to maintain it. What would you do with a Lighthouse?
posted by stbalbach (26 comments total)
I live on the Chesapeake Bay and the Baltimore lighthouse is about 1 mile from the shore of my backyard, it is the worlds first nuclear powered lighthouse.
posted by stbalbach at 7:46 AM on January 24, 2003

My stepdad had a lighthouse on his property for years and years. Because they live way out in the country, it was comforting to see the blue light, and know you were almost home. I used to give directions to the house as "when you see the blue light, you're almost there, and when the road stops, you're in my driveway."

When the Ontario government decided to dismantle it, my stepdad asked them for the actual light. It is now in their family room, and gets plugged in semi-regularly. The light itself is about a foot high and doesn't look too weird in the house.

The strange thing is, close-up, the light now looks green instead of blue. It's nice to be able to keep such an unusual piece of family lore - it really defined where we lived when driving home late at night.
posted by melissa at 8:17 AM on January 24, 2003

LIGHTHOUSE, n. A tall building on the seashore in which the government maintains a lamp and the friend of a politician.

-Ambrose Bierce, the Devil's Dictionary.

I'd grow a beard and long hair, be eccentric, live in the lighthouse and write.

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON was born into a lighthouse keeper's family in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1850...

But beware Lighthouse Horrors, like Kipling's Disturber of Traffic, or the Blue Lady of Harbour Town, SC:

Island legend and lore has woven a tale of a ghost, a spirit, an it what you will...that glides through the night; some long-time islanders who swear by the myth call her The Blue Lady. Her “home” was one of the original lighthouse-keeper’s houses which was moved from the Leamington area of Palmetto Dunes. Charles Fraser had bought the two houses in 1967, moving them beneath the oaks in Harbour Town, near where CQ’s now stands. Harbour Town was undergoing its first phases of construction then, and because it was relatively undeveloped, many of the roads remained unpaved. One such sand road led to the lighthouse-keeper’s house which was charming by day and became a lover’s lane at night.
posted by Shane at 8:18 AM on January 24, 2003

I want to marry a lighthouse keeper
and keep him company
I want to marry a lighthouse keeper
and live by the side of the sea
I'll polish his lamp by the light of day
So ships at night can find their way
posted by waldo at 8:23 AM on January 24, 2003

My father was the keeper of the Eddystone Light
He slept with a mermaid one fine night
and of that union there came three
a porpoise and a porgy and the other was me.
posted by yhbc at 8:31 AM on January 24, 2003

Lighthouse keeper was my first choice for a career. It took a while for reality to set in, in that they're almost totally run by automation. Funny that history went from keepers getting up every 2 hours to replenish the lamp oil to not having to be there at all.

I will have to thoroughly examine this.

Thanks for the link.
posted by Busithoth at 8:32 AM on January 24, 2003

Lighthouse keeper was my first choice for a career.
Mine too, although I suppose I always knew it was a pipe dream.

posted by Shane at 8:34 AM on January 24, 2003

I'd turn my lighthouse into a rocket for a quick getaway when my plans for world domination are foiled. Curses!
posted by Ty Webb at 8:44 AM on January 24, 2003

This is SO GREAT! At last, I may have found my true calling. Thanks for the link, stbalbach!

For my part, I would watch Ty Webb, and learn from his mistakes, biding my time all the while...
posted by jonson at 8:56 AM on January 24, 2003

Bummer: A group's financial ability to maintain the historic light station and adhere to historic covenants and other terms and conditions of the transfer will be given significant consideration in the review process.

Yippie, you can stay in them. I had a pamphlet but can not find a link that had a hand full you could stay in along the western coast.
posted by thomcatspike at 9:01 AM on January 24, 2003

"Commercial activities are prohibited unless approved by the Secretary of the Interior."

That makes things a little difficult. Some friends of mine operate the Heceta Head light in Oregon, they enjoy it a great deal. I'd think you could do something similar with this one - should the good Secretary approve.
posted by rotifer at 9:02 AM on January 24, 2003

rotifer, your this one, lighthouse. It said closes city, Seattle. It reminded me of the one by Port-Townsend near the military base where they filmed An Officer & Gentleman.
posted by thomcatspike at 9:31 AM on January 24, 2003

sadly, it looks like one of my favorite lighthouses is on the excess list. saint simon's island on the georgia coast.

though i suppose i could move in...
posted by grabbingsand at 9:42 AM on January 24, 2003

Dumping lighthouses? Think of what this will do to the Lighthouse market! It could ripple out into the entire economy. We'd need some sort of tax break to offset it. Oh, and a war with Iraq!

Please ignore this post.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:50 AM on January 24, 2003

They do look quite a bit alike Thomcat, the Port Townsend light is beautiful.
posted by rotifer at 10:49 AM on January 24, 2003

Many of the lighthouses Thomcat mentions are operated by California Youth Hostels. I've stayed at the Montara Point one several times - this is one of the nicest views on the Northern California coast. Whale watchers can see the grey whales from January to April. Room service junkies need not apply, but at $18, who's complaining?

I've been through Pigeon Pt. as well, but I understand the reservations are harder to get. This is close to Ano Nuevo State Reserve, where there are lots of elephant seals. Quite an amazing sight.
posted by swell at 10:50 AM on January 24, 2003

The Lighthouse Keeper at
posted by newlydead at 11:27 AM on January 24, 2003

yhbc: thanks for the grin, I haven't heard that in a long while. Oh, what a life on the rolling sea!
posted by brism at 12:29 PM on January 24, 2003

my grandparents owned a decommissioned lighthouse on lake superior in the u.p. of michigan. summers there were terrific. i'd highly recommend it.
posted by Shike at 12:45 PM on January 24, 2003

You can be buried at the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse off the Cannon Beach shore in Oregon. It's a pretty desolate, storm-battered location offshore.
posted by amanda at 2:46 PM on January 24, 2003

I'm only interested if I can take it, succeed from the US, and declare my own country "SeaWorld2". Then I'll open a really cool casino, with an attached brothel.
posted by troutfishing at 2:49 PM on January 24, 2003

"What would you do with a Lighthouse?"

I know there's a joke in here about "What would Jesus do with a lighthouse?", but I can't come up with it.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:29 PM on January 24, 2003

What would you do with a Lighthouse?

Why, I can make a hat, or a brooch, or a pterodactyl...
posted by kirkaracha at 5:21 PM on January 24, 2003 [1 favorite]

... "l shall go away to-morrow too."
"But where?" the others asked in unison.
The Savage shrugged his shoulders. "Anywhere. I don't care. So long as I can be alone."
The Savage had chosen as his hermitage the old light-house which stood on the crest of the hill between Puttenham and Elstead. The building was of ferro-concrete and in excellent condition–almost too comfortable the Savage had thought when he first explored the place, almost too civilizedly luxurious. He pacified his conscience by promising himself a compensatingly harder self-discipline, purifications the more complete and thorough. His first night in the hermitage was, deliberately, a sleepless one.
When morning came, he felt he had earned the right to inhabit the lighthouse; yet, even though there still was glass in most of the windows, even though the view from the platform was so fine.

posted by MzB at 5:23 PM on January 24, 2003

Then I'll open a really cool casino, with an attached brothel.

so, it'd be a "red" lighthouse, eh?
posted by jonson at 7:21 PM on January 24, 2003

Jonson - maybe, or maybe it would be a "Blue lighthouse 'till dawn", with that sultry diva Cassandra Wilson charging the salty sprayed air with her sultry, husky yearning as the patrons ebbed and flowed with the waves of desire....

what the hell did I just say?.....something about desire and yearning?....
posted by troutfishing at 8:21 PM on January 24, 2003

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