Digest>Archives> August 2002

Endangered Lighthouse Transferred to ALF


On Saturday, July 27, in a ceremony held in Cutler, Maine's Little River Lighthouse became the first lighthouse in Maine, as well as the first lighthouse in New England and one of the first lighthouses in the nation, to be transferred from federal government ownership to a non-profit organization under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act.

Ownership of the Little River Lighthouse, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was transferred to The American Lighthouse Foundation, an all volunteer, non-profit preservation group headquartered in Wells, Maine.

Because of the high cost of restoration and the remote location, no one wanted the lighthouse. The State of Maine did not want it and the National Park Service did not want it. Although the community of Cutler was interested in the lighthouse and its well-being, in fact many of the descendants of the keepers live in the community, the financial costs of restoration and future maintenance kept it out of their reach. When the lighthouse was listed as one of the ten most endangered historic properties in Maine, The American Lighthouse Foundation came forward and signed a long-term license with the Coast Guard to take over the abandoned station and begin fund raising to save it.

Obtaining actual ownership of the lighthouse, rather than just a license, will give the non-profit group much more flexibility in raising the necessary funds to restore the historic landmark.

Tim Harrison, president of The American Lighthouse Foundation said that contrary to recent reports, obtaining ownership of historic lighthouse is not easy, saying that his group went through a lengthy application process which needed to include a financial plan, use plan, environmental reports and restoration plan. Harrison went on to say that the Transfer of Ownership does not give the group carte blanche use of the lighthouse, saying, "The deed will have many covenants as to how the restoration must be completed and what the lighthouse will be used for once restoration is accomplished.”

Harrison said that the group’s proven track record with lighthouse restoration made approval of the application for ownership easier, saying, "The American Lighthouse Foundation's restoration of the remote Race Point Light Station on Cape Cod is one of the premier restorations in the nation." The American Lighthouse Foundation and its chapters are also working to restore Dutch Island Light in Rhode Island; Avery Point Light in Connecticut and Rockland Breakwater Light in Maine. They also have a number of other lighthouses along the coast of Maine such as Halfway Rock, Cape Elizabeth, Perkins Island and Pemaquid Point.

The group completed refurbishing of the 1876 Little River tower and in a joint arrangement with the Coast Guard the lighthouse was relit last October 2nd after having been dark for 26 years. However, the group estimated that it will cost well over $250,000 to complete the restoration of the station, which includes a keepers, house, oil house and boathouse. Restoration will not come easy, since the lighthouse is on an uninhabited island and all material must be delivered by boat or helicopter and all debris must be removed the same way.

A complete story with photos will be in the September issue of Lighthouse Digest.

This story appeared in the August 2002 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 © 1995-2024 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.

to Lighthouse Digest

USLHS Marker Fund

Lighthouse History
Research Institute

Shop Online

Subscribe   Contact Us   About Us   Copyright Foghorn Publishing, 1994- 2024   Lighthouse Facts     Lighthouse History