Hooper Island Light: Free to good home

HOOPERSVILLE — Has there ever been a time when you yearned to own a lighthouse? Are you part of a solid non-profit organization, an educational institution or a state or federal agency? If so, you may be in luck.

Hooper Island Light Station, lying west of Hoopersville, Dorchester County, about 3.8 miles out into the bay, has been made available to interested parties. Constructed in 1902, the lighthouse sits 63 feet above mean high water and is still used today as an aid to navigation in the Bay.

Recently, it has been tended and maintained by the Chesapeake Chapter of the United States Lighthouse Society, and they have decided to give it up for the right candidate. As of now, the federal government is searching for just the right stewards for this historic light. Per a press release sent out in mid-February, “pursuant to the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000, 54 USC Ch. 3051 (NHLPA), this property may be available at no cost to eligible entities defined as federal agencies, state and local agencies, nonprofit corporations, educational agencies, or community development organizations, for education, park, recreation, cultural, or historic preservation purposes.”
Interested parties are advised to act quickly — deadline for submission of a Letter of Interest in the lighthouse is March 17 of this year — yes, next week.

According to the feds, Letters of Interest should include: Name of property, name of eligible entity, point of contact—title, address, phone and email; and nonprofit agencies must provide a copy of their state-certified articles of incorporation.

After the close of the LOI period on March 17, eligible entities that submit a letter of interest will be sent an application by the Department of Interior, National Park Service (NPS), and given an opportunity to inspect the property. Building inspectors and/or contractors may accompany the applicant on the site visit. Applications for stewardship need to be submitted to the NPS within 90 days of receipt; after that the NPS will review the applications and select a recipient.

Letters of Interest should be sent to: U.S. General Services Administration, Real Property Utilization and Disposal, 77 Forsyth St SW, Suite 130, Atlanta, GA 30303; Attn: Tod J. Taylor. A copy of the LOI should also be sent to Elizabeth Hughes, Director; Maryland Historical Trust, 100 Community Place, 3rd Floor, Crownsville, MD 21032-2023.

The Hooper Island Lighthouse was requested in 1897, to replace a lightship that was anchored off the shoals west of the island, and to serve as a permanent warning to mariners of the extreme shallowness of the Bay in that region.

The lighthouse request was approved, and funded with $60,000 construction began in 1901 by Toomey Brothers of Connecticut, using the pneumatic process. To accomplish this, a cast-iron cylinder is mounted atop a wooden caisson containing an airtight compartment. After being towed and sunk at the construction site, water is pumped out of the wooden chamber. Construction workers then shovel the sand and mud away from the edges of the caisson, and the cylinder, filled with heavy concrete and stone, causes the entire structure to sink into the bottom of the bay. At the time of construction the caisson was sunk to a depth of 13.5 feet.

Are you interested in being the steward of one of the best water views in local real estate in Dorchester County? Get your application in now!

Paul Clipper is the editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at pclipper@newszap.com.

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