Would You Buy a Lighthouse?

These pieces of American history are the ultimate fixer-uppers.

White and Red Lighthouse and Attached Dwelling in Ohio

Fairport Harbor West Lighthouse and Residence

HGTV Magazine shares what it's like to own and live in a lighthouse.

Photo by: Shutterstock

Shutterstock

If you’re in the market for waterfront views and nautical style, you can’t do much better than a lighthouse. Many of them are no longer serving as critical navigational guides (GPS and radar have replaced them), so the historic structures are easier than ever to buy: A law passed in 2000 allows the transfer of federally owned lighthouses to private parties. Since then, more than 150 across the country have been handed over or auctioned, and many buyers are restoring the beloved old beacons to their former glory. Here’s how three intrepid homeowners took on the challenge.

Goose Rocks Lighthouse

White Converted Lighthouse in New England

Lighthouse-Turned-Residence in Maine

HGTV Magazine shares what it's like to own and live in a lighthouse.

Photo by: Thomas H. Mitchell / 500px (Getty Images)

Thomas H. Mitchell / 500px (Getty Images)

  • Location: North Haven, ME
  • Built in: 1890
  • Purchase Price: $27,000
  • Renovation Cost: About $300,000

Owner Casey Jordan and her former husband attended an inspection for this government-auctioned lighthouse on a whim and immediately placed a bid. “I climbed onto the deck, looked at 360 degrees of unspoiled nature and fell in love,” she says. The renovation wasn’t easy: The lighthouse is accessible only by boat and ladder, and it had been neglected since the 1960s. Casey sourced antique lumber for the floors and filled the rooms with Victorian-era furniture, delivered by ropes and pulleys. Now, nearly 20 years later, she spends every summer at the lighthouse and has zero regrets. “I can watch the osprey, eagles and seals all day long. And I never get tired of waving to people.”

Port Sanilac Light Station

Lighthouse With Vine-Covered Attached Dwelling in Michigan

Port Sanilac Light Station

HGTV Magazine shares what it's like to own and live in a lighthouse.

Photo by: Dennis Macdonald (Getty Images)

Dennis Macdonald (Getty Images)

  • Location: Port Sanilac, MI
  • Built in: 1886
  • Purchase Price: $855,000

Jeff Shook had been eyeing this property for a decade before he bought it. His ancestors were lighthouse keepers and he runs a lighthouse preservation society, so this was his dream home. He restored the tower and the attached dwelling (the Coast Guard maintains the blinking light): “I had to undo 100 years of slapping paint onto things,” he says. Now he and his sons, Paxton and Ryan, offer tours. “Knowing I’m preserving something for future generations feels good.”

Fairport Harbor West Lighthouse

Red and White Lighthouse in Ohio

Fairport Harbor West Lighthouse and Dwelling

HGTV Magazine shares what it's like to own and live in a lighthouse.

Photo by: Shutterstock

Shutterstock

  • Location: Fairport Harbor, OH
  • Built in: 1925
  • Purchase Price: $71,010
  • Renovation Cost: $300,000

When Sheila Consaul bought this lighthouse, she never imagined the work she’d need to do to make it her dream vacation home. Only a few original features were still in place, including the cast-iron staircase, and a rocky breakwall separates the lighthouse from a state beach. Sheila had to haul materials a half mile from the beach parking lot, and the appliances were delivered by barge. She had help from local volunteers and now pays the community back by offering tours May through October. “One of my favorite things is sharing it with people.”

A Light for a Night

Give lighthouse life a try at these rentals.

Lighthouse on the New England Coast With Rocky Shores

Lighthouse for Rent in Massachusetts

HGTV Magazine shares the details on living in (or renting) a lighthouse.

Photo by: Courtesy of Airbnb

Courtesy of Airbnb

Wings Neck Lighthouse: Pocasset, MA ($510 per night, airbnb.com)

Red, Northeastern Lighthouse With a Brick Path and Arbor

Red Lighthouse for Rent in New York

HGTV Magazine shares the details on living in (or renting) a lighthouse.

Photo by: Courtesy of Airbnb

Courtesy of Airbnb

Braddock Point Lighthouse: Hilton, NY ($258 per night, airbnb.com)

White and Red Lighthouse on a Rocky Shore in Alaska

Lighthouse for Rent in Alaska

HGTV Magazine shares the details on living in (or renting) a lighthouse.

Photo by: Courtesy of VRBO

Courtesy of VRBO

Sitka Lighthouse: Sitka, AK ($1,250 per night, sitkalighthouse.com)

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