Since Congress passed a law authorizing the government to transfer ownership of lighthouses in 2000, more than 150 have been conveyed to new owners, including 81 that have been handed over to state, local and nonprofit agencies and about 70 that have been sold at auctions.
Prices at auctions have ranged from $10,000 to $933,888, according to the G.S.A.
Sheila Consaul, a communications consultant in Washington, D.C., bought the Fairport Harbor West Lighthouse in Fairport Harbor, Ohio, for about $71,000 at a G.S.A. auction in 2011, and converted it into a summer home.
Ms. Consaul’s red-and-white lighthouse, which was built on Lake Erie in 1925, is still a working navigational aid, with a solar-powered beacon maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard and a weather station maintained by the National Weather Service, she said.
“I think my favorite part is having saved such an icon,” Ms. Consaul said. “It’s got all the things that a beautiful summer house on the water would have, but it’s so sentimental to so many people in those little towns where they are.”
She warned potential bidders, however, to consider that many lighthouses lack basic utilities and were built in remote locations that are not easily accessible to contractors. She said it had taken her nine years to install running water in her lighthouse.
Still, that “very long journey” has been worth it, Ms. Consaul said. She said she loves inviting people from the community to see inside, watching the sunset and gazing at stars.
“There are some amazingly incredible views, as well as history and intrigue,” she said. “All of those things people think about lighthouses are true.”