The long drawn out federal court battle over the ownership of two rare lighthouse lenses is over. A Federal judge has ruled that the two lenses in the possession of Steve Gronow of the Maritime Exchange Museum in Howell, Michigan must be returned to the federal government.
The lenses, one from the no longer standing Belle Isle Lighthouse in Michigan and the other lens from the Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse in Maine, are reportedly valued at $600,000. Federal judge Mark Goldsmith said that the government never gave up ownership of the lenses even though they changed hands over the years.
However, the majority of lighthouse preservationists feel that the government’s actions were no more than the bullying of a preservationist who saved the lenses that many government officials in their official capacity once treated like junk in the early days of automation.
However, this might be good news for the Spring Point Ledge Light Trust, which, if they can afford the insurance and other Coast Guard requirements, could get the lens that was once used in their lighthouse back for display. Otherwise, the lens, along with the one from Belle Isle Lighthouse, may be stashed away in government storage and not to be seen again for many years.
This story appeared in the
May/Jun 2018 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
All contents copyright © 1995-2018 by Lighthouse Digest®, Inc. No story, photograph, or any other item on this website may be reprinted or reproduced without the express permission of Lighthouse Digest. For contact information, click here.