Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Penfield Reef Lighthouse (CT) reverting to the federal government

Penfield Reef Lighthouse, in Long Island Sound very close to the border between the towns of Fairfield and Bridgeport, Connecticut, is a handsome structure with history and legends to spare. Back in April 2007, it was announced that the lighthouse would be available to a suitable new owner under the guidelines of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000. 

On July 29, 2008, Beacon Preservation, Inc., of Ansonia, Connecticut, received notice that the organization had submitted a "superior" application and had been recommended as the new owners.

Since then, the stewardship of the lighthouse has been obscured by a legal battle concerning the bottomlands under the structure. Beacon Preservation claimed that the federal government owned the bottomlands, while the State of CT claimed it did.

State legislation was passed allowing Beacon Preservation to occupy the submerged lands. But Beacon filed a suit in federal court seeking the right to administer the lighthouse and the lands beneath it “without first executing a lease with the State of Connecticut or the Town of Fairfield pertaining to the submerged lands on which Penfield Reef is situated” and to affirm Beacon’s “rights to all rights, title and interest” to the property.

A judge had yet to rule on the suit, but now Beacon Preservation has withdrawn the matter. According to the General Services Administration, this means the lighthouse will now be put up for public auction.

With the lighthouse reverting to the federal government,  I don't understand why the whole process under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHLPA) won't simply begin again, with the lighthouse being offered to a suitable applicant, such as a qualified nonprofit group or a government agency. It seems like the GSA is skipping a step; usually a lighthouse is auctioned to the public under the NHLPA only if there are no suitable applicants.

You can read more about this story here.

Orleans Trio Benefit Concert for Plum Beach Lighthouse (RI) on June 11

Tickets are now available for the Orleans Trio Benefit Concert for the Plum Beach Lighthouse, June 11, 2011, at the Newport Yachting Center.  
Orleans Trio is comprised of the founding members of Orleans, the national recording band from the 70s and 80s who created hits such as "Still the One" and "Dance with Me."  Tickets will be $65 per person and include Hors d'oeuvres  and cocktails.  Doors will open at 630pm with the band slated to begin around 8.  Plum Beach Lighthouse items and tee shirts will be available as well as CDs and items from Orleans and Orleans Trio.

The event will also honor the PBL Lighthouse License Plate as the first runner-up in the national contest for "Best Plate in America" by the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association.  Officials from the association will be on hand to present the RI DMV and the Friends the award.

Tickets are now on sale at the Newport Yachting Center Box Office, 401-846-1600 ext 2 or through their

See for more on Plum Beach Lighthouse.