Saturday, November 26

Oregon Lighthouse for Sale: $6.5 Million

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If you’ve ever dreamed of living in a lighthouse, now’s your chance. The Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, about 1.2 miles off the coast of Northwest Oregon, is for sale for $6.5 million.

Before you reach for your checkbook, you need to realize the lighthouse comes with some problems. First, you can’t land a boat there; there are too many rocks and steep cliffs. You can only come and go via helicopter, and even then you might have to make a second or third pass to get the sea lions off the landing pad.

Second, it’s a mess. Opened in 1881, the 62-foot-high light was decommissioned in 1957. Since then, it’s gone through a series of owners; storms have broken through doors, birds have nested inside and, most recently, it has been used to store human remains.

Then, there’s the location. The lighthouse is on less than acre of basalt, about 20 miles south of the mouth of the Columbia River. Once it was Oregon’s only offshore light, guiding the shipping lanes heading for the Columbia. The lighthouse tower rises 136 feet above sea level, and it offers glorious views of the coastline.

But the island is wet, cold, sea-swept and desolate. The weather is so extreme that early on the crews named it “Terrible Tilly.” In 1944, James Gibbs, Jr., one of the four Coast Guardsmen deployed as keepers there, wrote in his memoir, “Everywhere I looked, the place took on more of the aspects of an insane asylum instead of what I had pictured a lighthouse to be.”

Gibbs, and his comrades, were carried to the island by a small boat. They then climbed into a harness and were hauled up by rope.

Still, a lighthouse is a lighthouse. Two years after it was decommissioned, investors  from Las Vegas bought it, sight unseen, for $5,600. It has no fresh water, sewer or lights.

In the following years, the lighthouse was bought by several new owners. It was once included as an over-the-top gift in the Nieman Marcus Christmas catalog (although no one wanted it).

In 1980, a group of real estate developers bought it for $50,000. Then Mimi Morissette, the director of Eternity at Sea, took over, and used it as a columbarium to store people’s remains. That business never took off, and the company lost its license in 1999.

Now Eternity at Sea has put it up for sale, even placing a small ad in The Wall Street Journal and marketing it at a cremation and funeral convention in Las Vegas. Ms Morissette estimates the initial cleanup will cost about $1.5 million. Read more at and see the video below:



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