John Scalia, who took over Romer Shoal from the GSA, says he has always had a sweet spot for the lighthouse, as it was the first part of their new homeland his immigrant grandparents saw when approaching Ellis Island. Scalia plans to restore the property, with an eye toward making it available for tours from the National Lighthouse Museum on Staten Island. The Coast Guard continues to oversee operating the light at Romer Shoal.
“We were really concerned about who was going to buy it and what they would do. We are very happy he won the bid and really looking forward to this partnership,” said Capt. Joseph Ahlstrom, a NLM board member.
Historic lighthouses are first made available to government agencies and educational and nonprofit organizations that can maintain them. If no steward steps forward, the lighthouse is auctioned to the public. The GSA started this program because “the romance, history, and beauty of these historic stations is worth preserving for future generations.”