Lighthouse enthusiast started in Dungeness

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Sequim Gazette


Nick Korstad was 12 years old when he moved to Dungeness with his family and got his first glimpse of the lighthouse from the north-facing windows of their new home.


He was fascinated by the location of the New Dungeness Lighthouse, that it was built on the sand in 1857 and still was standing more than 130 years later.


"Having to walk a long distance or drive there and the fact that when you're out there on a boat you don't really know there's a spit there, it's a very necessary lighthouse," he said.


His enthusiasm for lighthouses carried through his childhood and 17 years later Korstad, who lives in Portland, Ore., is the owner of Borden Flats Light in Fall River, Mass.


Korstad, 29, bought the lighthouse, along with his parents, Cindy and Craig Korstad, from a government auction on Aug. 31 with a winning bid of $56,569.


The lighthouse sits in the open water of the Taunton River, 1,500 feet from the shore of the city of Fall River. Construction started in 1875, it first was lit in 1881 and was automated in 1963.


Borden Flats is the second lighthouse Korstad has purchased. In 2005, he bought the Wolf Trap Light, which sits in a remote part of Chesapeake Bay, Va., but had to sell it a year later after problems with vandalism proved to be too much to handle from Seattle, where he lived at the time.


Korstad plans to completely restore Borden Flats and open it for tours, weddings, catered events and maybe even host an alternative energy program or history classes.


"You don't want to lose all of the history from it," he said.


Korstad said lighthouses gave him a sense of security as a child.


"There's just something about them," he said. "As a child you feel safe around them."


He visits lighthouses every chance he can and estimates he's been to the New Dungeness Lighthouse 60 times. Before the resident lighthouse keepers left in 1994, Korstad would go out in crab boats and take crab to them.


The Coast Guard closed the New Dungeness Lighthouse in 1994 but shortly after the New Dungeness Light Station Association began fundraising efforts and has since completely restored the lighthouse and keeper's quarters.


Korstad still visits the lighthouse every year and plans to see it one more time this fall before he moves to Massachusetts to tend to Borden Flats.


Reach Amanda Winters at


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