Haven’t you always wanted to own a lighthouse?

Here’s a somewhat passive-aggressive press release from the Coast Guard about the Isle La Motte and Split Rock Tank-House Towers on Lake Champlain.  If you have thoughts on how these might be preserved or especially if you’re an NPO and interested in owning the Split Rock tower, there’s contact info at the bottom.

I’ve been to the Isle La Motte site.  It’s a quiet, winsome spot with incredible integrity of feeling.  If there’s a place to understand the history of navigation on Lake Champlain, this is it.  The tank-house tower is to the lighthouse behind it as a steel truss bridge is to a covered bridge- not as picturesque, maybe failing to capture the imagination of non-engineering nerds, but every bit as important to the story of transportation in Vermont.


Isle La Motte Tank-House Tower
Public Notice: Coast Guard Assessing
Plans for Lake Champlain Tank-House Towers
At Split Rock, NY, and Isle La Motte, VT

Boston – The Coast Guard is working with private property owners in Vermont
and New York to keep two Coast Guard-owned ‘tank-house’ aids to navigation
towers in place for historical preservation.

The towers, constructed of latticed angle-iron, are located at Split Rock, N.Y.,
and Isle La Motte, Vt., adjacent to privately-owned lighthouses.

In order to meet operational needs, Coast Guard operators are considering the
demolition or removal of these towers from federal property for the following

• Both towers are of an obsolete design that
does not meet current Coast Guard
requirements for aids to navigation
• Both towers are unsafe for Coast Guard
personnel to climb for maintenance.
• Both towers present a safety hazard to
persons on adjacent private properties.
• Both towers present an environmental
hazard due to deteriorating paint.
• Neither of the towers is an active aid to

However, in consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officers in New
York and Vermont, the Coast Guard has determined that these structures have
achieved historic significance on the state and local level.

The Coast Guard is working with adjacent private property owners to develop
potential alternatives to demolishing or removing the towers. At the Split Rock,
involved parties are considering a public-benefit conveyance to an accredited
non-profit organization. Any party interested in providing comments on
proposed actions, or any non-profit organization willing to assume responsibility
for the maintenance and upkeep of the Split Rock tower is encouraged to
contact the Coast Guard. Comments and inquiries can be sent by mail, fax, or
electronic mail to:

Mr. Luke Dlhopolsky
c/o Commanding Officer
USCG Civil Engineering Unit
475 Kilvert St, Suite 100
Warwick, RI 02886
Fax: (401) 736-1703

Comments must be received
no later than April 1st, 2014.

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