Fairfield's Penfield Reef Lighthouse Back On Auction Block

July 4, 2023 0 By JohnValbyNation

FAIRFIELD, CT — The 149-year-old Penfield Reef Lighthouse off the Fairfield shore is back on the auction block, after a $360,000 bid on it last year appears to have fallen through.

According to the federal Government Services Administration, the Penfield Reef Lighthouse is one of several the agency is making available to the public this summer. Details about the 2023 auction were not available, but when it was last auctioned, the starting bid was $100,000, and it would increase in $10,000 increments.

In addition to the auction for the Fairfield lighthouse, someone also could acquire the Lynde Point Lighthouse in Old Saybrook for free, if they are with a federal agency, state and local government, nonprofit, educational agency, or community development organization.

Find out what's happening in Fairfieldwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

Don Hyman, a member of the Fairfield Harbor Management Commission, said that he hopes whoever buys Fairfield’s historic lighthouse “treats it with respect, environmental sensitivity and love.”

“For someone like myself who has been kayaking and sailing around here for more than half a century, Penfield Reef Light is about as iconic as iconic can be,” Hyman told Patch. “I like to go out there in my sea kayak, following the reef at low tide, enjoying the birds, chat with fishermen and then paddle over to what remains of the lighthouse dock and just tie up for a bit, take a break, look at and enjoy the beauty of our coast and the majesty of the Long Island Sound. Simple, beautiful, sturdy, the lighthouse should be venerated.”

Find out what's happening in Fairfieldwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

The Penfield Reef Lighthouse was completed in 1874, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. It marks a submerged reef, and in addition to the 51-foot octagonal light structure on top, the property has a two-story keeper’s cottage that measures close to 1,600 square feet.

Additionally, the property also includes a pier and boat landing. The lighthouse is a Federal Aid to Navigation, and has two lighting systems.

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The structure’s exterior was restored to its 19th century appearance in 2015; those renovations included a new roof and hurricane-resistant windows.

Harbor Management Commission Chair Kim Taylor told Patch that the lighthouse remains a vital component of the waters off Fairfield.

“Regardless of who owns it, it continues to be important to navigation warning of rocks and shallow waters and can be seen from miles away,” Taylor said.

Patch reached out to a spokesperson from the federal Government Services Administration for details on this year’s bidding process, and who placed last year’s bid, but did not immediately receive a reply.

“Since the [National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act] program’s inception in 2000, over 150 lighthouses have been conveyed to new owners, including 81 lights to local governments and nonprofit entities through no-cost transfers and about 70 sold via public auction, which raised over $10 million dollars for the [U.S. Coast Guard] to reinvest in its Aids to Navigation mission,” according to the GSA.

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