The federal government is inviting certain types of organizations to apply to take over one of Duluth's lighthouses.
The U.S. Coast Guard has decided it doesn't need four of the nation's lighthouses anymore, including the Duluth Harbor North Pierhead Light at the end of the pier at Duluth's Canal Park, so it's giving it away per the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000.
The U.S. General Services Administration, which is tasked with selling government property, has listed the four lighthouses as no cost to eligible entities. Those entities include federal agencies; state and local agencies; nonprofit corporations; educational agencies; and park, recreational, cultural or historic preservation purposes.
The Duluth Harbor North Pierhead Light features a 43-foot tower and was built in 1910.
The other lighthouses the U.S. Coast Guard is offloading are:
- Cleveland Harbor West Pierhead Light in Ohio.
- Watch Hill Lighthouse Tower in Westerly, Rhode Island, built in 1855.
- Beavertail Lighthouse in Jamestown, Rhode Island, the nation's third-oldest lighthouse that was built in 1856 after British forces torched the original one in 1779 (only the foundation remains from the original lighthouse that had been built in 1749).
All four lighthouses are on the National Register of Historic Places and they must be maintained by the federal standards for rehabilitation.
Those interested in acquiring any of the lighthouses have until July 7 to submit a letter of interest. After that, the National Park Service will send an application to those interested and offer them a chance to inspect the lighthouse. Then the park service will recommend a steward for the property.
The Duluth lighthouse is located on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers jetty, so anyone interested in acquiring the lighthouse has to get authorization from the corps.
If a steward can't be found for any of the lighthouses, then the lighthouses will be sold.
The Duluth News Tribune says that's what happened in 2019 with the Wisconsin Point Lighthouse. A 34-year-old tech executive won it at auction for $159,000.