"Still our lamps must brightly burn": an evaluation of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000.
Murphy, Lori Elizabeth
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The National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 was enacted in order to transition federally-owned, historic lighthouses to qualified government bodies, non-profits, or private citizens. Changing technologies over the course of the twentieth century created a diminished need for traditional historic lighthouses, therefore federal ownership was not necessary. Although there were previous mechanisms in place to transition lighthouses out of the United States Coast Guard’s responsibility, they effectively excluded the small non-profit groups that very often were instrumental in the preservation of the lighthouse properties. This paper examines the history of lighthouses in the United States, the ownership transfer process prior to and under the current program, and the way in which various values play a role in the preservation of these structures. Case studies are utilized in order to demonstrate the complex workings of the program, and highlight various issues that can arise. The study attempts to gauge the success of the program in its current state, and provide thoughts pertaining to its future relevance.