Stonington’s Old Lighthouse and It’s Keepers


Co-authored by James Boylan and Betsy Wade

The amiable 1840 lighthouse at Stonington Point, today host to seaside weddings and breezy concerts, has a dark hidden history. Not the usual tales of ships driven aground, or fanciful ghost stories, this building has disturbing human secrets: Within its granite and mortar lies a history of scandal, graft, illness, and death. For a time, it was the focus of a struggle by reformers to clean up the government’s lighthouse establishment. Eventually abandoned, it was rescued by the Stonington Historical Society to serve as a local museum. Little of this story has been told before, but the authors – historians and journalists – have searched it out in wide-flung sources and tell it with clarity and style. This surprising tale makes this Stonington icon all the more a landmark of Connecticut history.

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