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Home » HISTORY in CT » CONNECTICUT (all topics) » The Seafarer’s Beacon
Morgan Point Light
The Seafarer’s Beacon

Part 3 - Connecticut’s Lighthouses

By Kate Romani | December 01, 2010

Previous Article in this Series

In this final installment in our series on Connecticut lighthouses, Kate Romani takes us to Noank, Fisher’s Island Sound and Stonington.

Latimer Reef Light

Morgan Point Light in Noank, Connecticut, was built in 1831 to help mariners enter the Mystic River and the harbor of Noank from Fishers Island Sound.   Noank was a busy port in the 19th century, and the land was purchased from Rosewell Avery Morgan, a descendant of an original settler of the area.

A new lighthouse was constructed in 1868, and maintained until 1919 when it was replaced by an automatic light to the east of the lights on Crooks Ledge.   At that time, Morgan Point was sold to a private party and today it is the summer home of the Jason Pilalas family, who restored the exterior of the lighthouse to its original appearance, and converted the interior to a private residence.

Located at the east end of Fishers Island Sound, about 4 miles southeast of Mystic, is Latimer Reef Light - an example of an offshore ‘sparkplug’ lighthouse.   It is a four-story cast iron structure; three stories inside the tower were living quarters, and the fourth was a watch deck with a lantern room atop.   The name of Latimer Reef Light indicates one of the primary functions of the lighthouses - to warn boats away from dangerous reefs nearby.   An iron spindle served to mark the reef as early as 1800 which was initially replaced by a buoy, and then in 1884, the lighthouse.

Stonington Harbor Light

Finally, there is Stonington Harbor Light.   In the 19th century, Stonington’s harbor was a thriving center for a variety of trades including shipbuilding, whaling and fishing.   The first lighthouse, a large stone tower built in 1823 on Windmill Point, directed vessels coming in from Long Island Sound by a series of oil lamps and reflectors.   After 15 years, the lighthouse had deteriorated to the point where it needed to be replaced.

In 1840, the original structure was dismantled and a new tower and keeper’s home built.   These buildings are still used today, having been converted into The Old Lighthouse Museum in 1925.   This stone structure became obsolete in 1889 when a cast-iron lighthouse was erected on a breakwater in Stonington Harbor, which in turn was replaced by a skeleton tower in the 1920s.

A wonderful outing for children and adults alike during the summer months is a trip to historic Stonington to explore The Old Lighthouse Museum.   You can view fascinating exhibits in the six rooms on display, and climb up the tower for a magnificent view of three states.

In fact, a visit to any or all of these historic lighthouses will be days well spent... and a wonderful reminder of New England’s important maritime heritage.

The Old Lighthouse Museum

7 Water Street, Stonington, CT 06378

(860) 535-1440

The Old Lighthouse Museum Website

Opening Hours from May to October

Daily: 10AM - 5PM

Lighthouse Details:

Morgan Point Light

Latimer Reef Light

Stonington Harbor Light

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