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Two Lighthouses For Sale - New York

Offshore Lighthouses (And a Lightship) Up For Sale

The auctions are closed. Both Lighthouses have been sold. Between the two of them, the government made over a half million dollars on them. West bank sold for $245,000 and Old Orchard Shoal Lighthouse went for $235,000. Sign up for E-Mail updates on more government auctions. Or check the Lighthouses For Sale Category Listing.

Map of lighthouses in New York BayGet out your checkbooks and get ready for another set of lighthouses going up for sale to the general public via auction. The USA General Services Administration has put up West Bank Lighthouse and Old Orchard Shoal Lighthouse on the market. The auction will open June 5, 2008, with a minimum bid of $10,000. You will need to put up an earnest money deposit of that $10,000, because you will need beaucoup bucks to afford to rehab these stations according to the usual guidelines for historic preservation. Bid increments are the standard $5,000. And as always, the Coast Guard requires access anytime as both lights are still active. The map at the left shows the locations of these two towers, circled in red. Click the map image for a larger view. If you were thwarted in buying Point No Point due to its cancellation, here’s your chance to get your own private retreat.

Old Orchard Shoal Lighthouse

Location: Gedway Channel, New York

The Invitation for Bids (IFB) has been released with all the details. It’s available at the auction site as a Microsoft Word Document.

Old Orchard Shoal LH

Old Orchard Shoal was built in 1893 to mark the dangerously shallow area at the eastern end of Staten Island Sound. Previously, only a lighted buoy and a bell buoy marked this hazard, but mariners complained it was woefully inadequate. Located three miles offshore, the keepers had to often assist sport fishermen who often didn’t pay attention to the weather warning signs and were caught in squalls. Many a fisherman spent the night at the lighthouse, having a meal and enjoying a warm bed while the storms raged outside.

Old Orchard Shoal was automated in1955, and no longer has a fog signal (good news for potential buyers as it was a siren). The lighthouse is located near Great Kills Park, offshore of the Gateway National Recreation Area. Its companion range light, the Waackaack beacon, was deactivated sometime in the 1950s, and put up for bid by the government. The single bid of $280 was rejected, and the tower was torn down and sold for scrap metal, although its keeper’s house still stands and is a privately owned residence.

West Bank Lighthouse

Location: Ambrose Channel, New York

The Invitation for Bids (IFB) has been released with all the details. It’s available at the auction site as a Microsoft Word Document.

West Bank

West Bank Lighthouse became active on New Year’s Day, 1901 and was raised to 70 feet in 1906 to align with the Staten Island Light. Two more stories were added in 1907. From Lighthouse Friends comes a tale of legendary lighthouse keeper, Ed Burge, the first keeper of the light, and his dog.

Burge brought a small fox terrier puppy with him when he arrived at the newly built West Bank Lighthouse. Like his owner, the lighthouse life quickly got into the dog’s blood, and he refused to live anywhere else. In a 1924 magazine interview, Burge talked about his dog:

“You couldn’t get that dog to live ashore. Sometimes when I took him with me after supplies, he’d run down to the edge of the water and look out toward the light, and whine. If the light dimmed at night, or the fog signals stopped, he’d bark and tear around. He recognized a lot of boats, too, and would bark to the tugs he knew. I used to tie a flag to his tail, and he’d run out onto the gallery and wave signals. He always slept outside on the gallery, no matter how stormy it was, and watched the light and the boats. He was a lot of company. When I was transferred to Elm Tree I brought him ashore with me, but he wouldn’t live here. He was homesick, so I had to take him out and give him to the new keeper on the West Bank. He lived on the offshore lights for eleven years. Then the keeper brought him ashore, and he died in three days.”

The lighthouse was also crashed into by a vessel being towed by a tug, just three days after Christmas in 1908. The Carrie Winslow ripped the railings off the lighthouse and broke the glass. The tugboat company was held liable for the damage, which was $1200. However, Burge was kind of put out into the nor’easter by the fact it was his bedroom that got destroyed.

“She tore out one side of the tower, ripped free and drifted on, leaving that gale pouring through my bedroom. Nope, I didn’t do anything heroic. A man can’t be much of a hero without his pants. I just saw that the pup was all right and the light burning, and that the barkentine hadn’t sunk, and hunted another room that wasn’t busted wide open.”

Contact Info

If you’re interested in buying one of these lighthouses, and would like more information, contact Meta Cushing at or by phone at 617.565.5823. Lighthouse News will be following these auctions, so if you haven’t already subscribed to email updates, please consider doing so now.

Would You Rather Have a Mobile Lighthouse?

Lightship Nantucket docked in Oyster BayIf being locked to one location isn’t to your interest, you might be interested in the Lightship Nantucket instead. Its cost? A mere $1. But a caveat, it will only be sold to a non-profit corporation willing and able to keep her open to the public as “a tangible reminder of the men who spent solitary weeks at sea protecting their ocean-going brethren and the ships they sailed,” according to the story in the Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror.

“We don’t want it converted into a bar or restaurant,” said Jerry Roberts, a board member of the National Light House Museum, which currently owns the vessel but is no longer able to maintain it. “We also don’t want some local historical society with no money thinking they can have a free ship. It’s a huge responsibility. I would love to see it return to Nantucket.”

Nantucket was the largest lightship ever built and is currently docked in Oyster Bay, Long Island, NY. She guarded the southeast coast of the island for nearly forty years, marking the hazardous shoals in the waters surrounding the island. Unfortunately, neither the Nantucket Historical Association nor the Egan Maritime Foundation want her.

Serious inquiries about acquiring the LV-112 can be addressed to Roberts at

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  1. 14 Comment(s)

  2. By Frank O'Rourke on Aug 3, 2008 | Reply


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  4. By john morgan on Aug 3, 2008 | Reply

    send current and future sales/auction info on lighthouses.Thank you.

  5. By Sue Clark on Aug 3, 2008 | Reply

    Please note: Do not leave requests for updates in the comments. Nothing will be sent to you if you do. The appropriate way to stay up to date is to subscribe to Lighthouse News through email. Thanks.

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