Chesapeake Bay Lighthouse Auctioned…….With Strings Attached

The federal government has sold a rather inhospitable lighthouse in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay for a 6-figure sum after a bidding war at auction. The Hooper Island Lighthouse — located in Maryland’s Dorchester County — drew little interest at first, but then five potential buyers drove the price up from a starting bid of $15,000 to the winning bid of $192,000. Unfortunately, the lighthouse comes with some strings attached. The new owners must maintain it as a Coast Guard navigational aid, observe historic preservation standards, and sign a memorandum of agreement with the Navy about when it can be accessed. The rusting lighthouse — known locally as the “sparkplug” — has an outer ladder but no nearby dock for a boat to moor. A 2019 inspection also found lead-based paint, asbestos, benzene and other dangerous substances inside. There’s also no water, electricity, or other utilities. The U.S. Lighthouse Society previously owned the structure, but the government auctioned it off on the organization’s behalf. The new owner’s identity won’t be known until final documentation is signed, which is required to happen within 45 days.