Fred Plumb, the owner of Plumb Products machine tool company in Woodbury, Conn., has been reported to be the individual who posted the highest bid — $381,000 in late October — on Little Gull Island, a federally owned island with a historic lighthouse from 1869 that the General Services Administration put up for auction in October.
GSA spokesman Patrick Sclafani said that the GSA has accepted the bid and anticipates closing on the deal in the next several weeks — a decision that New London Maritime Society’s director Susan Tamulevich said is disappointing but she she hopes to help Plumb preserve Little Gull and its historic lighthouse, a former navigational aid for the Race in Long Island Sound with a beacon still actively maintained by the Coast Guard.
The lighthouse has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“We realize that many private individuals have been good environmental and preservation stewards and hope that proves to be the case here,” she told Patch on Monday. “We wish Mr. Plumb and Little Gull Island well and have extended the offer to help them in any way we can. In fact, we have exchanged a couple of emails, so I remain positive."
The New London Maritime Society — in collaboration with Save the Sound, Connecticut Fund for the Environment, and Quebec-Labrador Foundation with help from private donors and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — By the time bidding closed with Plumb’s high offer two weeks later, Leah Schmalz, attorney for Save the Sound, said that she was confident strong stewardship would win the day with the U.S. General Service Administration, which does not appear to be the way this final deal with play out.
Tamulevich said she wanted to thank the 100-plus people who wrote to the GSA and their elected officials this fall to raise awareness of the changes happening at the small but important 1-acre Little Gull Island.
“We raised public awareness of the significance of this little island as part of the important larger habitat and flyway that also includes Great Gull and Plum Islands,” she said. “That was worth doing.”
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