A Contract is Awarded for Building a Lighthouse in Connecticut

August 18, 1838

In Connecticut, a contract was awarded for the construction of a new lighthouse on the west side of the mouth of Connecticut River at what is now the town of Old Saybrook. The recipients of this contract were Connecticut residents Jonathan Scranton, a farmer experienced in constructing breakwaters and wharves along the shoreline; Volney Pierce, an accomplished architect; and John Wilcox, a member of a longtime and prominent local family.

These men agreed to build a lighthouse to replace the one that had been constructed at Lynde Point in that area by a carpenter named Abisha Woodward. That structure had been in operation since 1803. (The land where the lighthouse was located had belonged to area resident William Lynde.)

The original lighthouse, a 35-foot (11-meter) wooden tower, left much to be desired for that critical juncture of the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound. There were specific concerns with respect to the heavy maritime traffic sailing through the region. Many sailors, for example, complained that the structure was not tall enough to be easily seen from ships. Another drawback for this lighthouse involved its gradual deterioration over the years.

The three men awarded a contract for replacing the lighthouse agreed to build a 65-foot (20-meter) octagonal brownstone tower that would be much more visible and durable. The new Lynde Point Lighthouse was completed and first lit by the following year. This structure, which has also become known as the Saybrook Inner Lighthouse, remains in operation today.

The present-day Lynde Point Lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. One reason why this lighthouse is considered especially significant is because of its exemplary masonry work. Another reason is that the structure represents the U.S. federal government’s efforts during the 19th century to steadfastly improve navigational aids within the high-priority Long Island Sound.

For more information on the present-day of Lynde Point Lighthouse and its predecessor, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynde_Point_Light and http://www.newenglandlighthouses.net/lynde-point-light-history.html

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