Old Saybrook Lighthouse Politics of Preservation

blogoldsay Once again, Old Saybrook Lighthouse is in the news apparently to fuel the flames of a controversy between local political concerns and federal Lighthouse Preservation procedures. First Selectman Michael Pace has noted the Town of Old Saybrook was originally interested in Lighthouse ownership, followed by their grave concerns over public safety and public access, and he is currently requesting the federal government to keep ownership of the Lighthouse.

At stake is the possible future restoration and preservation of one or two historic active Lighthouses in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Before releasing a Notice of Availability to the public, the General Services Administration assesses historic Lighthouse properties first.

In this unusually extended media event (1), Congressman Joe Courtney has scheduled a January 30th conference meeting for First Selectman Michael Pace to voice his three concerns about the potential transfer or auction of Old Saybrook Lighthouse to the Coast Guard and the General Services Administration.

Beside the emergency management and public access issues, Old Saybrook Lighthouse, located at the end of a half-mile jetty to aid entering the mouth of the Connecticut River, is a “critical safety beacon for boaters” according to First Selectman Michael Pace.
Yet, the Coast Guard is committed to operating the Outer Lighthouse as an Active Navigational Aid and may excess the Lighthouse Landmark to a organization for restoration and preservation.

Old Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse is a popular symbol of the community and the icon of a Connecticut “Save the Sound” license plate used as a part of the drive to preserve Long Island Sound. Surprisingly, no local group has proactively stepped forward with a “Save Our Sentinel” plan to preserve their historic active Symbol of Safety before a Notice of Availability is officially released.

To date, the online news has only reported the local concerns voiced by the Town government and the residents living in the private borough of Fenwick.

As noted in a previous post, the best short term solution is to transfer ownership to the National Park Service until all the issues can be resolved. The National Park Service currently owns and maintains at least 23 Lighthouses (2).

In the meantime, Katharine Hepburn provided 4 acres of beachfront property in Fenwick as protected undeveloped land with a view of the Outer Light for public enjoyment!

For more information about the Lighthouses, please the “Saybrook Breakwater Light Privacy Problems” post.

Related posts:
Old Saybrook Lighthouse Quagmire?
Old Saybrook Lighthouse Privacy

blue_starMap Location:
For Map Directions, please visit the Google Map of Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse


(1) News of Lighthouse ownership transfer is generally reported after the General Services Administration publicly releases a Notice of Availability. After a Notice of Availability has been announced, interested Non-profit organizations and local governments have two months to submit their Letter of Interest. The National Park Service reviews the submitted Non-profit applications in private and the process averages one year to complete.

According to the Secretary of the Interior, Old Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse and Lynde Point Lighthouse have not been officially recommended for ownership transfer per the latest list of 36 Lighthouses recommended for transfer and a Notice of Availability has not been issued by the General Services Administration.

If no local government or non-profit group expresses a interest in owning the Lighthouse, the Lighthouse may be placed on the market for private sale using the GSA online auction.

(2) The National Park Service owns and maintains the following Lighthouses:

• Bear Island Lighthouse
• Derby Wharf Light • Three Sisters Lights • Nauset Lighthouse
• Cape Cod (Highland) Lighthouse
• Fire Island Lighthouse • Sandy Hook Lighthouse
• Bodie Island Lighthouse • Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
• Cape Lookout Lighthouse • Ocracoke Island Lighthouse
• Cockspur Island Light
• Dry Tortugas (Loggerhead Key) Light • Tortugas Harbor (Fort Jefferson) Light
• Au Sable Lighthouse • Rock Harbor Lighthouse
• Alcatraz Island Lighthouse • Anacapa Island Light • Fort Point Light • Point Bonita Lighthouse • Old Point Loma Lighthouse, • Point Reyes Lighthouse • Molokai (Kalauppa) Light

Related News Story:
Preventing Sale Of Lighthouse On Agenda

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About Debbie Dolphin

Lighthouse author and photographer living in New England

Posted on January 25, 2008, in Preservation News and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Hi Chief Chicken Dickens Chicken Little Kim (CCDCLK),

    Sunrise or sunset is the best time to capture photos of Lighthouses!

    And I thought it was Jimmy Stewart who said “Katherine Hepburn Was very generous” ? 😉

    Just in case Chief Technorati Inspector Jos sails by here:
    Speaking of “The Flying Dutchman,” did Chief Technorati Inspector Jos jump onto this ghost ship doomed to sail the seven seas forever? Do you want to inform him that he has the next chapter to write in our secret novel or do we draw straws?

  2. a beautiful lighthouse Debbie…
    and I agree with Drowsey… Kate Hepburn is very generous !!!

    CCDCLK’s last blog post..A Letter from André Rieu Productions

  3. Hi Linda,

    Thank you for your local insight about this unusual Lighthouse Preservation mystery!

    Maybe, the local mariners and residents are waiting to see what the Federal Government final decision is before deciding if they need to jump on this band wagon?

    Although I have not seen any official town statement, I wonder if the town officials are hoping the media coverage will inspire their residents to establish a local Preservation group?

  4. Good point that it should be turned over to the National Park Service. I’m really quite surprised that the good folks of Old Saybrook have not raised the hue and cry when it comes to preserving this wonderful piece of history in our State. Seems like they jump on every other band wagon so why not this one?

    Linda’s last blog post..“Keytar” Anyone??

  5. Hi Drowsey Monkey,

    We have a rare intriguing view of the political process of Lighthouse Preservation.

    Generally, the parties involved keep this process private yet, the Town of Old Saybrook decided to air their concerns in a public forum.

    Katherine Hepburn did rock and rocked by leaving some of her property for public use!

  6. fascinating. it seems like everyone is making it so complicated!

    Katherine Hepburn rocks, lol. (or rocked)

    DrowseyMonkey’s last blog post..Frozen Tongue

  1. Pingback: » Old Saybrook’s Outer Lighthouse Available for Preservation New England Lighthouse Treasures

  2. Pingback: » Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse is On Hold New England Lighthouse Treasures

  3. Pingback: Historic Lighthouses | Old Saybrook Lighthouse Politics of Preservation

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