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Lighthouse Maine: Auction bid of $78,000 wins lighthouse 6 miles off Maine coast

A piece of New England’s history just sold on the auction block for $78,000. This historic lighthouse is billed as New England’s tallest and it sits off the coast of Maine, according to News Oxy on Aug. 18.

Lighthouse auction nets 78k for Boone Island lighthouse in Maine.
Wikimedia Commons

The lighthouse is the tallest, but it isn’t the highest lighthouse in New England. That honor belongs to the Sequin Lighthouse at the mouth of the Kennebec River, it is highest above sea level sitting on elevated land.

So what did the unnamed winning bidder get for $78,000? Just a tall granite lighthouse on a desolate island. The Boon Island Light Station’s keeper’s house and out buildings are long gone. As Boston.com reports today it is not known who purchased the lighthouse or what they plan to do with it. Their headline reads; "Someone Spent $78K to Buy Maine Lighthouse for Some Reason."

At 133-feet over the Atlantic, the Boon Island Lighthouse is still working and used to navigate the ships away from the rocks, shallows and the tiny rocky island it sits on. Boon Island sits about six miles off the coast of York, Maine and the lighthouse was built in 1855.

History denotes the island’s first documented shipwreck in 1710, over a century before a lighthouse was built on Boone Island. The Nottingham Gallery, which was a British merchant ship, became shipwrecked on the island.

Maine has some ruthless winters, so could you imagine what it would have been like to live on that island, just like the lighthouse keeper did when the site was first constructed? Bidders were informed that the Coast Guard would continue to service the light and keep it going, which had to be a plus for the winner of the auction.

That is a long, cold trip in the winter to get out to the pile of stone to keep that lighthouse up and running. The nations light houses often go up for auction, this is not a rare occurrence. Some folks buy a lighthouse and turn it into their permanent home, if the area can support a home.

In this case, no one would want to live on the small pile of rocks called Boone Island, but some lighthouses have gone for near $1 million and offer wonderful shore front property. Since 2000, the government has transferred ownership or auctioned off more than 100 lighthouses around the nation.

A lighthouse data base called LighthouseFriends.com shows all the lighthouses that are offered up for auction and the ones that were just sold. The database website is run by Kraig Anderson, so this is a good resource if you are thinking of getting a lighthouse of your own, or if you just want to see what is going on with the nation’s lighthouses today!