The U.S. Government Is Auctioning Off Six Historic Lighthouses

cmh2315fl, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0
cmh2315fl, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

The U.S. government is auctioning off a collection of properties with history, charm, and unbeatable waterfront views. And unlike most beachside vacation homes, these places are selling for starting bids of $10,000 to $15,000. But there’s a catch: The lighthouses up for sale were built for guiding ships to safety, not relaxing in luxury.

As Inhabitat reports, the six lighthouses include the Craighill Channel Lower Range Front Light Station in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, and five structures on the shores of Michigan’s Great Lakes. One property, the Minneapolis Shoal Light, located on Lake Michigan, was part of a group of lighthouses the state of Michigan attempted to sell to the public last year. This time around, the bidding on the lighthouse is up to $15,000, with the auction set to close August 15. The Maryland lighthouse will remain for sale until September 15; the closing dates for the other four listings have yet to be announced.

Prospective bidders must agree to put down a $5,000 to $10,000 deposit on the lighthouse they’re interested in. They must also be prepared to renovate the house’s interior so it will meet the legal standards for public habitation. The actual property each lighthouse stands on will still belong to the government, but with the building no longer needed for its original purpose, the new owner will be free to transform it into a bed and breakfast, a summer home, or anything else they envision. There are plenty of examples of repurposed lighthouses around the world they can look to for inspiration.

[h/t inhabitat]

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Centre of Excellence
Centre of Excellence

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The Tallest Cemetery Monument in New Orleans Was Built Out of Spite

baldeaglebluff, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
baldeaglebluff, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Spite has motivated many construction projects, from a 40-foot-tall fence in California to an 8-foot-wide home in Massachusetts. But when it comes to pettiness, few structures can beat Moriarty Monument in New Orleans's Metairie Cemetery. Reaching 80 feet high, the memorial to Mary Moriarty was an excuse for her widower to show off his wealth to everyone who rejected him.

New Orleans is famous for its cemeteries, which feature above-ground mausoleums. The soil in the region is too wet and swampy to dig traditional 6-foot graves, so instead, bodies are interred at the same level as the living. The most impressive of these graveyards may be Metairie Cemetery on Metairie Road and Pontchartrain Boulevard. Built in 1872, it lays claim to the most above-ground monuments and mausoleums in the city, the tallest of which is the Moriarty Monument.

The granite tomb was commissioned by Daniel A. Moriarty, an Irish immigrant who moved to New Orleans with little money in the mid-1800s. It was there he met his wife, Mary Farrell, and together they started a successful business and invested their new income into real estate. The couple was able to build a significant fortune this way, but Moriarty struggled to shake off his reputation as a poor foreigner. The city's upper class refused to accept him into their ranks—something Moriarty never got over. After his wife died in 1887, he came up with an idea that would honor her memory and hopefully tick off the pretentious aristocrats at the same time.

By 1905, he had constructed her the grandest memorial he could afford. In addition to the towering steeple, which is a topped with a cross, the site is adorned with four statues at the base. These figures represent faith, hope, charity, and memory, while the monument itself is meant to be a not-so-virtuous middle finger to all those who insulted its builder.

Gerard Schoen, community outreach director for Metairie Cemetery, told WGNO ABC, “The reason Daniel wanted his property to be the tallest was so his wife could look down and snub every 'blue blood' in the cemetery for all eternity." More than a century later, it still holds that distinction.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]