Sold to the highest bidder: one historic lighthouse sitting at the tip of Lake Superior’s Wisconsin Point.
The U.S. General Services Administration auctioned off the red-roofed tower last week to Steven Broudy, 34, of California for $159,000. The Superior Harbor Entry Light was the latest property relinquished by the federal government under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act, which seeks to find suitable stewards for lighthouses the Coast Guard and federal agencies no longer need.
GSA spokesperson Cat Langel confirmed the lighthouse sold to Broudy.
Broudy told Minnesota Public Radio News that he had bought the lighthouse sight unseen. Inspired by Henry David Thoreau’s book “Walden,” he said he liked the idea of living in an isolated place.
Jon Winter, business manager of the Douglas County Historical Society in Wisconsin, said he hopes the exchange will benefit the City of Superior landmark.
“I would say it’s definitely been an icon and an attraction for artists,” Winter said.
The 56-foot lighthouse was built in 1913, a few years after a storm destroyed the old one on Wisconsin Point, according to auction documents. It has a basement, a two-story main building that was used as living quarters and a circular tower.
A few years back, the GSA made the Superior lighthouse available to state and local agencies, nonprofits and educational or community development organizations. No one bid on it, so the property was later made available to the public online.
Bidding started at $10,000 more than a month ago. Nine bidders warred over the structure, which was finally sold when the auction wrapped up Aug. 26.
The light itself will continue to be used for navigation and will be serviced as necessary by the Coast Guard, which will retain access to an easement to reach it. Broudy will be required to maintain the property to keep up with the Department of Interior’s historic property standards.
Currently, the GSA has three other lighthouses up for auction — one in Florida and two in Michigan.
“There’s nothing like the standard lighthouse keeper kind of image that people think of anymore,” said Coast Guard spokesperson Brian McCrum, who added that the goal of the preservation program is to find good caretakers.
“Because,” he added, “there are still a lot of lighthouse lovers out there.”