Lighthouse for Sale

The nostalgia of obsolete public property

Heather Hansman
Dec 3, 2014 · 7 min read
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If you look out into the Atlantic, past the Scituate, Massachusetts, harbor you can see Minot’s Ledge Light blinking 114 feet above the swell. For the past 150 years the lighthouse has warned boaters about the shallow, shipwrecking rocks close to shore, but recently the Coast Guard decided it wasn’t relevant anymore, and this fall the light became private property.

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Credit: Boston Public Library
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Credit: Boston Public Library

Lighthouses aren’t the only kind of obsolete public buildings that we put on a pedestal — I think people feel similarly about fire towers — but lights hit the crosshairs of history, design, adventure, and allegory.

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But, ultimately he’s turning it into a vacation house. “I kind of feel guilty buying it, taking it, and making it mine, because it was built with public money, but it was put up for free to non-profits first and there were no takers.”

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Credit: Boston Public Library
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