Four free Coast Guard lighthouses available off the Florida Coast, with a few caveats

They’re miles off shore, in pristine Gulf waters.  And they’re free. The real catch it’s their not the picture-perfect New England lighthouse you’d hope for. Check out the official description of the Sombrero Key Lighthouse from the General Services Administration website: “142+/- ft cast iron octagonal screw-pile tower with Keeper’s quarters located approximately seven (7) miles offshore of Marathon, FL..”

Sombrero Reef looks a bit rusty, but maybe it’s just anti-corrosion paint.

A fifth seems to be for sale, as it has a different listing type, possibly because it’s not covered by the same lighthouse preservation law. The Sand Key Lighthouse is the farther south of any, which would make you the person who owns the farthest south property in the entire contiguous U.S. Its description is more robust. Still not really pretty. Oh, and the keeper’s quarters are gone, so you just get the tower.

“The lighthouse is a cast iron pyramidal screw-pile tower. The structural skeleton consists of inclined cast iron pipe columns with wrought iron tension and compression members. The tower tapers from 50′ x 50′ at its base to 19′ x 19′ at the cast iron entablature supporting the watch room and lantern housing. The foundation consists of wrought iron screw piles capped with concrete. The total height of the structure is approximately 132′. No dwelling is present. The keeper’s quarters were removed due to damage from a fire that occurred in 1989.   Only the structure will be conveyed. “

The free Alligator Reef (featured at the top) is more picturesque, and it still has its keepers quarters: “148+/- ft cast iron octagonal screw-pile tower with Keeper’s quarters and landing dock located approximately four (4) miles offshore of Islamorada, FL”

The catch? The Miami Herald writes, “The lighthouses are being offered to eligible entities the preservation act defines as federal agencies, state and local agencies, non-profit corporations, educational agencies, or community development organizations. The act was designed to ensure historic lighthouses like these are to be used for educational, park, recreational, cultural or historic preservation purposes”

And, nothing commercial, apparently.  So, shark watching? There’s no land to be had, so it’s just the stilts and whatever sits atop it.

And, the government wants any interested party to contact them before Tax Day, so sorry about the late notice.  Probably still worth trying, though.  These don’t seem like they’ll go very fast.





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