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More Connecticut Lighthouses

Stonington, Groton and New London


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & 2008 Lighthouses and a Wedding in CT & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Sunday afternoon 3 August 2008 - For the Lighthouses

Stonington map

Stonington map


We didn't find any place to stop and eat before we got to Stonington.
Street going down to the lighthouse

Street going down to the lighthouse


We drove down the narrow streets to the end of the point
Breakwater light

Breakwater light


and parked
The Point House

The Point House


and walked up the hill to the lighthouse.
Bob on the walkway to Stonington Light

Bob on the walkway to Stonington Light


This lighthouse was built in 1840 using the materials from the 1824 original lighthouse that was on this spot. It is a 35 ft octagonal granite tower with lantern and gallery, attached church-style to a 1-1/2 story granite keeper's house. The lantern is painted gray. This is the oldest lighthouse in the country with a light tower attached in the "church" or "schoolhouse" style.
Lighthouse from the street

Lighthouse from the street


The building is notable among lighthouses of its period for its fanciful stonework, with ornamental cornices around the tower and weighty granite lintels above doorways and windows. When it was built in 1840 it had a nearly flat roof with simulated battlements, but it leaked so badly that two years later local craftsmen were called in to install the gabled roof it has today.

It was deactivated in 1889 when it was supplanted by beacons on the harbor breakwaters.
Through the window

Through the window


After deactivation, it remained in service as the keeper's house for the Stonington Breakwater Light until 1908, when a new keeper's house was built next door.
House/museum

House/museum


The lighthouse was purchased by the local historical society in 1925 and renovated.
Lighthouse well

Lighthouse well

When it opened in 1927, it was the first lighthouse museum in the nation.

The interior of this lighthouse has been turned into a museum. It exhibits the artifacts it had acquired since its founding in 1895. This collection, augmented over the years, reflects Stonington’s maritime and agricultural history — sailors, farmers, sea captains, explorers, entrepreneurs.
4134735-Bird_models_in_the_window_Stonington.jpgBird models and Lantern

Bird models and Lantern


Many artifacts predating the lighthouse document the defense of Stonington when the British attacked in 1814: for example, a cannon ball lodged in a hearthstone from a house on Water Street and a rare Congreve rocket fired on the village by the Royal Navy.
Eighteenth Century Windsor chair which is on a mirror so that in inscription on the underside which says: This chair belonged to Peter States 1778.

Eighteenth Century Windsor chair which is on a mirror so that in inscription on the underside which says: This chair belonged to Peter States 1778.

100_1301.jpgCandle mold and China

Candle mold and China


There is locally made stoneware, items from the China trade brought back by Stonington sea captains, portraits of local figures from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and a doll house, with antique dolls and toys.
Dollhouse bathroom with over the toilet tank

Dollhouse bathroom with over the toilet tank

100_1302.jpgDollhouse

Dollhouse

Lighthouse map that lights up

Lighthouse map that lights up


A 4th order Fresnel lens of uncertain origin is displayed
A 4th order Fresnel lens

A 4th order Fresnel lens


Visitors may climb the 29 circular steps and a short ladder to reach the top of the tower,
Stairs

Stairs


which looks over three states
Lighthouse room with people

Lighthouse room with people


We didn't climb up to the top of the tower.

Your ticket includes admission to the Capt Palmer House: $9 adults; $6 children.
Drawings of the lighthouse and Captain Palmer House

Drawings of the lighthouse and Captain Palmer House


The interior of this lighthouse has been turned into a museum. It exhibits the artifacts it had acquired since its founding in 1895. This collection, augmented over the years, reflects Stonington’s maritime and agricultural history — sailors, farmers, sea captains, explorers, entrepreneurs. We toured that and I took some pictures.
4134735-Bird_models_in_the_window_Stonington.jpgBird models and Lantern

Bird models and Lantern


Many artifacts predating the lighthouse document the defense of Stonington when the British attacked in 1814: for example, a cannon ball lodged in a hearthstone from a house on Water Street and a rare Congreve rocket fired on the village by the Royal Navy.
Eighteenth Century Windsor chair which is on a mirror so that in inscription on the underside which says: This chair belonged to Peter States 1778.

Eighteenth Century Windsor chair which is on a mirror so that in inscription on the underside which says: This chair belonged to Peter States 1778.

100_1301.jpgCandle mold and China

Candle mold and China


There is locally made stoneware, items from the China trade brought back by Stonington sea captains, portraits of local figures from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and a doll house, with antique dolls and toys.
Dollhouse bathroom with over the toilet tank

Dollhouse bathroom with over the toilet tank

100_1302.jpgDollhouse

Dollhouse

Lighthouse map that lights up

Lighthouse map that lights up


A 4th order Fresnel lens of uncertain origin is displayed
A 4th order Fresnel lens

A 4th order Fresnel lens

We were there from about 1315 to 1345. We didn't stop at the Palmer House because we were looking for a place to have lunch.
Captain Nathaniel B Palmer House

Captain Nathaniel B Palmer House

Ocean Bank

Ocean Bank

When we left Stonington and got back to the highway, Bob thought we should turn right to get to New London and I thought we should turn left. He was SURE, and he usually knows. But he was wrong in this case. It was almost two (1400) and we were close to the RI border before we found a Subway and could get lunch.
Subway

Subway

After lunch I wanted to see the lighthouses at New London and Groton. New London is the smallest city geographically in the state, and what I remember most about New London is that it was where Conn. College for Women was located. Two of my first cousins graduated from Conn. College for Women (which is now just Connecticut College)
New London Map

New London Map


I know Groton primarily because of the Sub Base there. In about 1957, my husband joined the Naval Reserve as a submariner. When he was at the Naval Academy he did his second class (junior) year cruise on a submarine, and I went to visit. I ate dinner with him on one of the submarines

Groton became known as the Submarine Capital of the World when the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics delivered 74 diesel submarines to the Navy in World War II. This was followed in 1954 with the launch of the USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear-powered submarine, now permanently berthed at Goss Cove near the Submarine Base.

Since we had gone east so far out of the way to get lunch, we decided to go to Groton first. Groton is on the east side of the Thames River and New London is on the west side.

Today Groton has more than just the submarine industry. When we went looking for the Avery Point Lighthouse (on the University of CT grounds),
Chemical plant

Chemical plant


we passed a large pharmaceutical manufacturing facility. We started by trying to find the University of CT Avery Point Campus in Groton.
Entrance road

Entrance road


On the point is Branford House. Branford House was built in 1903 by Morton Freeman Plant who was a wealthy businessman.
Branford House Gatehouse - now Campus Police

Branford House Gatehouse - now Campus Police


Plant loved Groton, and became its benefactor. He supported and owned a minor league team in New London, The Planters. He endowed what is now Connecticut College, and established a trolley line, the Shoreline Electric Railroad (that ran through southeastern Connecticut into Rhode Island). It is thought that Plant chose to build his summer "cottage" at Avery Point because he did not have an interest in being part of the social circles of Newport. The undeveloped Groton area allowed him to build his greenhouses and farms in a way that he never could do in the already developed Newport.
1903 Branford House Mansion

1903 Branford House Mansion


Named after the town where he was born, the Branford House was designed by his wife Nellie, who had studied architecture at the Sorbonne in Paris. English architect Robert W. Gibson carried out her plans. The exterior was done almost entirely in the Tudor style using granite quarried from the grounds in order to harmonize with the estate's natural surroundings.

I knew the Groton lighthouse was somewhere on the grounds of the University of CT. There were also a lot of sculptures on the point. We found a path along the side of Avery Point, where there were outdoor sculptures.
Penny Kaplan's Mythic Mystery

Penny Kaplan's Mythic Mystery

The sculpture closest is Gad Zooids by Nick Santoro. To the right at that is Welded Steel Bird of Paradise by Kenneth Bujnowski and to the left is Azucar

The sculpture closest is Gad Zooids by Nick Santoro. To the right at that is Welded Steel Bird of Paradise by Kenneth Bujnowski and to the left is Azucar


My husband thought that Azucar looked to him like "Your Head on a Plate"
Azucar by Artist Christopher Wynter

Azucar by Artist Christopher Wynter


There was a brick walk with memorial bricks in it,
Memorial bench

Memorial bench


and also a grave for the UConn mascot.
UConn mascot grave

UConn mascot grave


This lighthouse looked so new that I thought it must be a replica, and did not take but two pictures of it. It IS a fairly new lighthouse and was only active as a navigational aid from 1944 to 1967), and it never had a resident keeper.
Avery Point Lighthouse

Avery Point Lighthouse


Avery Point Lighthouse was the last to be built in Connecticut. It was finished in 1943, during World War II, and was not lighted right away due to concerns about possible enemy invasions by sea. It finally went into service on May 2, 1944. The unusual lighting consisted of eight 200-watt bulbs showing a fixed white light at 55 feet above sea level. Later on the light was changed to flashing green. The unique design has made it a favorite among lighthouse aficionados. The lighthouse is located on shore at Avery Point, at the east side of the Thames River entrance in Groton, Connecticut. Avery Point was originally named for an early settler to the area named Captain James Avery. The 73-acre site served as the estate of Morton F. Plant. Plant died in 1918, and in 1942 the land was sold to the state of Connecticut, which in turn handed it over to the Coast Guard. From 1942 to 1967 it was the site of the United States Coast Guard Training Center.

In 1969, the land was returned to the state of Connecticut at no cost, and it became part of the University of Connecticut at Avery Point campus.
large_4134680-_Groton.jpg
Given the designation of Building #41 by the university, the former lighthouse building has been used as a physics laboratory and an air sampling station.

By the late 1990s, the condition of the tower had deteriorated to the point where it was considered unsafe. The tower’s concrete blocks were found to be crumbling, the result of high sand content. The APLS was formed to save the Avery Point light, and the concrete blocks were the first things to be replaced. The original lantern was lifted by crane and transported to the West Mystic Wooden Boat Building Company, which is owned by a former lighthouse keeper and a current English professor at the University of Connecticut. The company graciously donated its time and materials for the restoration project. The old wooden lantern was used as a template for the construction of the new replica lantern, which was lowered into place on September 30, 2005 as about fifty cheering spectators looked on.

From the University of Connecticut's Avery Point Campus you have a good view of the river and the surrounding area.
House at the end of the point on the west side of the Thames river

House at the end of the point on the west side of the Thames river


Eastern Point Beach is a small family-oriented beach at the mouth of the Thames River near the University of Connecticut's Avery Point campus which is where I took my pictures. It is where the Sound meets the Thames River.
4135994-Eastern_Point_Beach_Groton.jpgEastern Point Beach from Avery Point

Eastern Point Beach from Avery Point


There are also informational signs about the geology and ecology of the area.
Information sign on Geology

Information sign on Geology


The geology sign explains the geological time line and says "all the land forms you can see in the distance in geological terms are called moraines. They are composed of piles of soil and rock left behind by the last glacier." It goes on to explain "20,000 years ago, sea level was 300 feet lower than i is today cause the world's water was frozen in the glacier." The glaciers gradually receded and the water level rose. "4,000 years ago tidal marshes had developed and L.I. Sound estuary evolved for nearly its present form.
Fishing at Avery Point

Fishing at Avery Point

Kayakers off Avery Point

Kayakers off Avery Point


Today the average depth in the sound is only 64 feet."
Estuary ecology sign

Estuary ecology sign


The ecology sign goes on to say "This area of the shore is repeatedly exposed and submerged" and this is the "Rocky Intertidal Zone". "Plants and animals...have adapted to survive the harsh conditions here which expose them to air, salt water, fresh rain water and crashing waves. Air temperatures are hotter than the water in summer and colder than the water in the winter." Fresh water and salt water flow together in the estuary - salt water along the bottom reaches 15 miles up the river from here.
4136020-Kayaking_and_Sailing_Groton.jpgSailboat off Avery Point

Sailboat off Avery Point


Really I just wanted to see the lighthouses.
Looking out to sea from Avery Point

Looking out to sea from Avery Point


It was nice to stand out on the point on a nice sunny warm day, but I imaging that the campus could be really cold in this location at the winter.

I discovered that I could see four lighthouses from this location. Not only could we see the Avery Point Lighthouse, but the New London Harbor or Pequot Lighthouse was across the river, and the New London Ledge lighthouse was outside the harbor. Way in the distance I identified the Race Rock Lighthouse.
Race Rock Lighthouse - NY - 8 miles across sound

Race Rock Lighthouse - NY - 8 miles across sound

The original 1760 New London Harbor Lighthouse was the fourth lighthouse to be built in America. It is about 3.5 miles from downtown. When I read the description of how to get there, I did not think I could or would visit this lighthouse. Lighthouse Friends page says

"The keeper's residence is privately owned, and the grounds are not open to the public. In fact, during our visit, there was a "No Trespassing and No Photographs Sign" at the entrance to the property. I'm not sure how they can prohibit photographs..."

So I thought I might as well take photos from here where they couldn't forbid me.
Pequot Avenue Lighthouse

Pequot Avenue Lighthouse


New London Harbor Lighthouse is Connecticut’s oldest and tallest lighthouse and provides an interesting architectural counterpoint to its much newer and flashier neighbor, the New London Ledge Lighthouse. It’s also a reminder of the glory days early in the country’s history when New London was the third busiest whaling port, behind New Bedford and Nantucket. The busy port also attracted several immigrants, leading to the beach area near where the lighthouse stands being used as quarantine ground in the 1750’s for recent arrivals to the New World infected with smallpox, a recurring problem at the time.

In 1760, the colonial legislature of Connecticut passed an act creating a committee to pursue the funding, construction, and staffing of a new lighthouse for the harbor entrance at New London. The following year, thousands of lottery tickets were sold to pay for the lighthouse (a popular method of raising funds for construction projects in those days). The lighthouse, a 64-foot stone tower with a wooden lantern at the top, was finished that same year at the west side of the harbor entrance. It was the first lighthouse in the harbor and only the fourth to be built in the American colonies.
4134689-Pequot_Avenue_Lighthouse_New_London.jpgPequot Avenue Lighthouse

Pequot Avenue Lighthouse


By 1800, the New London Lighthouse had a crack extending ten feet down from the lantern. In addition, the light was so dim as to often be indistinguishable from the lights of the surrounding homes, and from the west the beacon was completely obscured by a point of land. Congress allocated funds for a replacement light, and in 1800 a New Londoner by the name of Abisha Woodward began construction on the current octagonal, tapered 80-foot tower. Sitting on a foundation of a mixture of granite, brownstone, and native stone, the tower was built of freestone, hammered smooth and laid in courses. The walls were nine inches thick and lined with brick inside. A wooden spiral staircase led up to the lantern room. Since construction of the tower, various renovations have been affected such as installing a new lantern with a copper dome, repainting the exterior walls with hydraulic cement and whitewash, and replacing the interior stairway.

When the new station opened in 1801, its flashing light was produced by oil lamps and an eclipser. This apparatus was replaced in 1834 by eleven lamps with 14-inch reflectors. Finally, a fourth-order Fresnel lens, which remains in the lighthouse today, was installed in the late 1850s. The first keeper’s house deteriorated quickly and was replaced in 1818. The current gable-roofed, 2 ½ story keeper’s residence was built in 1863.
New London Harbor Lighthouse or Pequot Lighthouse

New London Harbor Lighthouse or Pequot Lighthouse


During the War of 1812, the New London Harbor Lighthouse was extinguished. The British did not attack the station during the conflict, as it was guarded by colonial troops, but instead invaded the undefended Little Gull Island Light, taking all of its lamps and reflectors.

New London was not the first town where landlubbers found themselves at odds with the maritime community. In 1904, the thorn in the town residents’ side was the fog siren newly installed in the New London Harbor Lighthouse. The sizable number of seasonal summer residents was especially dismayed after arriving for their annual period of rest and recuperation from big-city stresses only to have the new fog signal prevent any possibility of a good night’s sleep. While city residents complained about the “horrible groaning and shrieking,” local ship captains found the sound of the long-requested signal to be sweet music to their ears indeed when attempting to navigate the harbor through a typical pea-soup fog.

The problem was finally resolved in 1906 when a Daboll trumpet replaced the maligned fog siren. The whole issue became moot in 1911 when the New London Ledge Lighthouse was activated, and the Harbor light’s fog signal was turned off for good.

Several ferries go into New London. You can connect to Fisher's Island, NY and seasonally to Block Island, RI.
4134686-Ferry_approaches_New_London.jpgSailboat and ferry

Sailboat and ferry

4134688-Ferry_passed_New_London.jpgFerry passed and Sailboat

Ferry passed and Sailboat

New London Ledge Lighthouse was built in 1909 in a unique French Second Empire style which was meant to blend with the houses on shore. with its square red brick quarters topped with a mansard roof and a circular lantern room, is one of the most striking and unusual-looking lighthouses in the United States. Local residents reportedly did not want to gaze out to sea at a structure that would be out of place among their large and historic homes; hence the Colonial and French architectural influences found in the lighthouse.
New London Ledge Lighthouse

New London Ledge Lighthouse


Mariners and other local residents begged and pleaded for over a century and a half for a lighthouse somewhere near the mouth of the Thames River and the harbor of New London, Connecticut. As early as 1794, the Connecticut Legislature passed a resolution that four buoys be placed in the harbor, but these small markers proved sorely inadequate. The New London Harbor Lighthouse was finally completed onshore in 1801, but it failed to adequately mark the ledges located offshore. Both citizens and ship pilots presented petitions in 1845, 1854, 1865, and 1890 demanding an offshore lighthouse. These petitions were fruitless until the Lighthouse Board detailed the inherent dangers to maritime traffic at New London to Congress in 1902 and 1903 and requested funds for constructing a lighthouse.
668254454172397-New_London_L..East_Haven.jpgFerry a long ways away

Ferry a long ways away


After a few more years of further debate, planning, design, and construction, the new lighthouse finally began operation in 1909. At first the new station was going to be placed on Black Ledge, but that would have left Southwest Ledge standing as an unmarked hazard between the new lighthouse and the shipping channel, so Southwest was finally chosen as the site. In 1910, the name of the new light was changed to New London Ledge, to avoid confusion with the identically named Southwest Ledge light at the New Haven breakwater.
4136116-Ferry_Services_New_London.jpgFerry passes the Ledge

Ferry passes the Ledge


127341594136017-Sailing_past..use_Groton.jpgSailing past New London Ledge Lighthouse

Sailing past New London Ledge Lighthouse

476546254136104-New_London_o..New_London.jpgNew London Ledge lighthouse

New London Ledge lighthouse

To provide the foundation for the New London Ledge Lighthouse, a timber crib made of southern yellow pine and held together with nine tons of iron and steel, was first constructed on shore at Groton. Four tugboats towed the crib to Southwest Ledge, a short journey that took eight hours, and the wooden crib was then filled with concrete, gravel, and riprap and sunk into place in 28 feet of water. A concrete pier, rising 18 feet above low water, was constructed on top of the crib foundation, and the lighthouse, 52 square feet and 34 feet high, was constructed of brick on top of the pier.
New London Ledge Lighthouse

New London Ledge Lighthouse


Every thirty seconds, the station’s fourth-order Fresnel lens, crafted in Paris by Henry Lepaute, repeated the distinctive signature of three white flashes followed by one red flash.

Playwright Eugene O’Neill lived in New London for many years, and his famous play Long Day’s Journey Into Night was set in the town. During one scene in the play, the characters refer to the fog signal at New London Ledge, a sound familiar to residents of New London.

We drove back to the motel, and decided that we wanted to go someplace different for dinner, so we drove around East Haven up and down the main street,
East Haven Town Hall from the car

East Haven Town Hall from the car

and eventually settled on Tolli's Apizza: Eat Italian for dinner.
Front of the restaurant

Front of the restaurant


Specials chalkboard

Specials chalkboard


Bob had
Spaghetti

Spaghetti


and I had the
Side salad

Side salad

Fried ravioli special

Fried ravioli special


Fruit cobbler

Fruit cobbler

Monday 4 August 2008 - Driving home

We took the Merritt Parkway back instead of I-95.
Sign pointing to the Merritt Parkway CT 15

Sign pointing to the Merritt Parkway CT 15


It is much calmer - there are no trucks
Merritt Parkway bridge

Merritt Parkway bridge


CT 15 and Merritt Parkway sign

CT 15 and Merritt Parkway sign

Bridge on the Merritt Parkway

Bridge on the Merritt Parkway


and this time we did the Tappan Zee bridge instead of going through NYC.
Approaching the Tappen Zee

Approaching the Tappen Zee

Tappen Zee Bridge

Tappen Zee Bridge


I took photos of the lighthouse from the bridge.

Tarrytown or Kingsland Point, or Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse was built in 1883 - prefabricated by the G.W. & F. Smith Iron Co. of Boston. It is a round spark-plug tower with lantern and double gallery, including 4-story round keeper's quarters, mounted on cast iron caisson. Tower painted white, lantern black, caisson red. The light is 54 feet above the river with a white flash every 3 seconds.
Sleepy Hollow Light

Sleepy Hollow Light


Originally the lighthouse was a half mile from the east shore of the river but landfill in connection with a now-demolished General Electric plant brought the shoreline within a few feet of the lighthouse.
From the Tappen Zee bridge

From the Tappen Zee bridge


Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse (my preferred name) was inactive from 1961 to 2013, so my photos are of the inactive lighthouse. The lighthouse has been owned by Westchester County since 1974. The interior has been restored and furnished. A replica 4th order Fresnel lens was installed in 2015.

Top of the Tappen Zee bridge

Top of the Tappen Zee bridge

EZ Pass lane

EZ Pass lane


We stopped at the Richard Stockton rest stop and ate lunch at Burger King.
Soda dispensers on the NJ Turnpike

Soda dispensers on the NJ Turnpike

Richard Stockton Travel Plaza

Richard Stockton Travel Plaza


Travel Plaza map

Travel Plaza map


Delaware Memorial Bridge

Delaware Memorial Bridge


When we got to Maryland, we took the back roads
Historic marker

Historic marker


When we got back we had dinner at El Cerro Grande
Virgin Pina Colada

Virgin Pina Colada

Posted by greatgrandmaR 10:26 Archived in USA Tagged lighthouses mystic new_london stonington groton Comments (0)

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