PORTLAND, Maine — Bidding for Halfway Rock Light Station off Harpswell has reached nearly a quarter of a million dollars with less than a day to go before the auction closes, according to the U.S. General Services Administration.
With six bidders active in the auction, the high bid for the Bailey Island lighthouse is $245,000. That bid will win if no higher bids are submitted before 9:36 a.m. Wednesday.
The U.S. General Services Administration, which oversees the auction, can extend the deadline for bids if activity heats back up.
The auction started at 10 a.m. May 14.
The nearly quarter million in bidding — there have been three bids higher than $200,000 — is more than triple the amount another Maine lighthouse attracted at auction last month.
Boon Island Light Station, off York, will be sold off for a winning bid of $78,000 after an auction that closed on Aug. 17. At 133 feet in height, the 1855 Boon Island Light is considered the tallest lighthouse in New England, although not the highest above sea level.
The U.S. General Services Administration spokesman Patrick Sclafani said Tuesday afternoon that Portland real estate developer Art Girard was the winning bidder in the Boon Island Light auction.
Girard also was in a bidding battle for the 1905 Ram Island Ledge Lighthouse at the edge of Portland Harbor in 2010, ultimately losing a coin toss to Windham neurosurgeon Jeffrey Florman to settle the matter. Girard withdrew from the bidding and allowed Florman to win the auction with a bid of $190,000 after agreeing with the doctor on the coin toss solution, the Portland Press Herald reported at the time.
But interest in Halfway Rock Light Station — at least in terms of bidding amounts — is greater than both of the previous two Maine lighthouses to have been auctioned off.
The 1871 lighthouse is named “Halfway Rock” because it stands halfway between Cape Elizabeth and Cape Small, about 10 miles east of the famed and picturesque Portland Head Light.
The granite, 76-foot-tall tower with an iron dome-shaped roof originally contained the keeper’s quarters and storage facilities inside, according to the U.S. General Services Administration, and it is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The identities of the bidders in the Halfway Rock auction have yet to be made public by the U.S. General Services Administration.
At the 1892 Cuckolds Light Station near the mouth of Boothbay Harbor, a Connecticut couple renovated the property to serve as a luxury bed and breakfast.
The U.S. Coast Guard puts about five lighthouses in New England and the Great Lakes up for auction each year, Sclafani told The York Weekly.
Excess lighthouses are offered to other government agencies, nonprofits and preservationists before being placed on the auction block.
The sales of Boon Island Light and Halfway Rock will bring the U.S. General Services Administration’s total to 38 lighthouses to be sold to private owners through auction, while another 68 have been transferred at no cost to nonprofits, according to The Forecaster.
The most expensive lighthouse sale recorded was the $933,888 sale of Graves Light in Boston Harbor last year, The Forecaster reported.