Bidders drawn by the charm, desire to preserve Ram Island Ledge Light take a closer look at Casco Bay lighthouse
CASCO BAY – From his home in Cape Elizabeth, Scott Raspa can see Ram Island Ledge Light taking a pounding during nor’easters, or standing sentinel in calmer seas
On Thursday, the software consultant joined others on a Coast Guard vessel for a closer view of the lighthouse, about a mile northeast of Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth. The visitors were registered bidders in a federal government auction of the five-story tower, which has helped mark the main channel to Portland Harbor since 1905.
Conserving the lighthouse was a common motive among the bidders. A couple of them also thought ownership of the lighthouse could dovetail with their business plans. One had a notion that it could serve as a bed and breakfast for adventurous types, but wasn’t yet certain what he would do. All seemed charmed by the prospect of owning a wind-swept lighthouse off Maine’s rocky coast.
The Coast Guard doesn’t have the budget to maintain all of the lighthouse towers that house navigational aids, which in this case consists of a light and a foghorn. Under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000, lighthouses are offered to groups such as local governments and nonprofits at no cost before being put up for auction. The Coast Guard continues to maintain the navigational aids in lighthouse towers that are sold.
Raspa likes the idea of being the owner of a nearby lighthouse, with all its mystery and history. He doesn’t yet have a concrete plan should that become the case.
“We were thinking about having cocktail parties there. I don’t know if that’s possible,” he said.
Click for the rest of the story by Ann S. Kim in the Portland Press Herald.