The light tower was built in Louisiana and brought by barge to Frying Pan Shoals in 1966. Photo: Frying Pan Tower
For decades, the Frying Pan Tower, located some 34 miles off the coast of North Carolina, functioned as a U.S. Coast Guard light station, serving as an aid to navigation and alerting ships to the shallow shoals just beyond.
But after more than 25 years of continuous operation, the light station went dark in 1992 and slowly fell into disrepair. That is until 2010 when North Carolina resident, Richard Neal, purchased the tower from the U.S. government and spent the following years turning it into an “adventure” bed & breakfast.
Starting today, however, Neal has put the tower up for auction to the highest bidder, with a minimum starting bid of just $10,000.
But before you whip out your checkbook (or PayPal), there are a few things to keep in mind.
The Frying Pan Tower is accessible only by helicopter or boat. It does get hit by hurricanes. And, I would assume, it requires constant upkeep. Other than that, it looks homey. You’ll have plenty of privacy. It’s located in waters just beyond Federal and State limits so you won’t have to pay taxes or adhere to U.S. laws.
There’s also has full kitchen, high-speed internet, cold and hot running water (filtered rainwater, no water bills!), solar and wind power, backup generators, and redundant communications, among many other amenities. It’s also located in 50-feet of clear blue water near the Gulf Stream, so it’s a great place to take a dip or catch your dinner right from the deck.
As far as the bed and breakfast part goes, Frying Pan Tower offers 3-day, 2-night packages for up to 8 to 12 guests in 8 guest rooms each with their own ocean view (obviously).
Here’s more about the tower provided in the auction description:
The light tower is a steel oil drilling platform, known as a “Texas Tower” on top of four steel legs that has been modified to be used as a lighthouse. The eighty (80) foot light tower is located approximately 32 miles southeast of Bald Head Island, NC and marks the shoals at the confluence of the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean. The platform consists of a main floor is a living area of approximately 5,000 square ft. that includes 5 twin bedrooms, 3 queen bedrooms, a crew room with 3 twin beds, stainless steel kitchen, workshop/hoisting area, storage rooms, laundry, recreation area and 2 toilet facilities. The top is the steel I-beam supported helipad. The corner light tower houses an internal staircase, a lantern room at the 126′ level and an observation platform for equipment at 134′ above the water. The maintenance level provides access to the steel truss structure and I-beam cross members, holding tanks and an emergency ladder to the water on the North East leg.
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