If you are looking for unique housing in coastal Maine, you could buy a private island with a lighthouse for $2.3 million.
That is the asking price for Mark Island, located on the western side of Schoodic Point in Frenchman Bay.
The 166-year-old lightkeeper’s house has three bedrooms and three bathrooms, according to the real estate listing for the property. The light tower, approximately 40 feet tall, is attached to the house. It also has an “updated pier and float, solar power, upgraded water systems, wood stoves, and continual improvements over the years,” according to the listing.
The island sits in one of the more scenic locations along the state’s rugged coastline. It often is photographed by visitors to the Schoodic section of Acadia National Park who stop along the loop road that rounds the tip of the Schoodic Peninsula to enjoy the view of Mount Desert Island, which serves as the lighthouse’s mountainous backdrop.
The total assessed value of the 2.75-acre island is about $680,000.
The $2.3 million asking price is higher than some other private coastal islands currently listed for sale in Maine.
For instance, Pomp Island, a 28-acre island in the town of Beals, is listed for sale for $920,000 and includes a cabin. Greer Island, an undeveloped 5-acre island that is connected by sand bar at low tide to Vinalhaven, is on the market for $395,000. Bareneck Island, a wooded 15-acre island with a house in the tidal Sasanoa River between Westport and Georgetown, is listed for sale for $1.25 million.
Mark Island and its lighthouse are owned by William Sofield, an architect and interior designer from New York City. He bought it in 2004 from William Holden, who had bought it in the mid-1990s from Gerald and Glenna Kean, according to documents on file at the Hancock County Registry of Deeds. The price Sofield paid to purchase the island was unavailable but, according to Lighthousefriends.com, it had been listed for sale in 2004 for $1.25 million.
Sofield is the eighth owner of the island since the federal government sold it in 1934, according to county registry records.
The federal government owned the island from 1856, when the lighthouse was first built and operated, until it decommissioned it in 1933. It then sold the property at auction to George Harmon of Bar Harbor for $552, according to Lighthouse Friends.
The island lighthouse has inspired books authored by some of its previous owners. Bernice Robinson, whose husband had bought it from Harmon in 1939 for $2,000, wrote two books about it, “Winter Harbor” and “Our Island Lighthouse.” Years later, owners Pat and Rene Prud’hommeaux wrote a children’s book titled “The Light in the Tower,” about a Christmas tree they erected in the former lighthouse each December, according to Lighthouse Friends.
Holden also wrote a book, “Mark Island Lighthouse Diaries: Songs of a Dreamer,” about his experience owning, repairing and living in the lighthouse, which had been severely neglected for about a decade before he bought it. He wrote that he believed the island forever belongs to the families of the lighthouse keepers, local fishermen who pass by it each day and to the local community.
“When I say the deed was conveyed to me, it is because I have never felt that anyone ever ‘owns’ Mark Island,” Holden wrote in the memoir. ‘“I became in my mind nothing more than a caretaker, entrusted with a gift.”