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Published May 20, 2013, 10:21 AM

Historic Superior lighthouse free for the taking

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — Wisconsin's historic Superior Entry lighthouse is free for the taking.

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — Wisconsin's historic Superior Entry lighthouse is free for the taking.

No longer needed by the U.S. Coast Guard, the lighthouse is being offered to any eligible group that would use it — and pay for its upkeep — for education, recreational, cultural or historic preservation purposes.

The lighthouse stands on Wisconsin Point at the entrance to the port of Superior, Wis. Construction began in 1911, and its light was first lit in 1913. The current light flashes green every five seconds; its foghorn sounds for three seconds twice a minute as needed.

Whoever takes control of the lighthouse would have to agree to several conditions, the Duluth News Tribune reported Monday (http://bit.ly/13BIkJK ). The structure is on the National Register of Historic Places, and any new owner must maintain the structure to federal standards. In addition, the Coast Guard will reserve the right to service, replace or move the still-operating light and foghorn.

The federal government is making the offer under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act, which aims to find stewards for lighthouses in an effort to save tax dollars while preserving the past.

"Advancements in navigation technology have reduced USCG's requirement to own and operate light stations," General Services Administration spokeswoman Cat Langel said. "While the USCG may continue to maintain active aids to navigation at or near specific light stations, the structures themselves are often no longer critical to the USCG's mission needs."

The government has conveyed 92 lighthouses to new owners under the 2000 act. It currently is also offering one in Connecticut and five in Michigan.

New owners have put lighthouses to several uses. The North Point Lighthouse in Milwaukee, for example, has been restored and is now a public museum.

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