Monday, January 16, 2017

Stratford Point Light

I grew up in Lordship;   a small neighborhood at the tip of Stratford, CT.   Where the Houstaonic river meets Long Island Sound, a small lighthouse sits helping ships navigate.   The lighthouse is on private property, so I've never been able to explore it - until now.

Recently I was in CT for a wedding.  That weekend the lighthouse was having an open house - so I convinced Mom to take a side trip to check it out Stratford Point Light in detail..

Google Satellite image of the lighthouse site

The lighthouse itself is small.  Just over the height of a 2 story building, it pales in comparison to other lighthouses out  there.   But the Connecticut coast is rough terrain, and lighthouses dot the coastline.   This lighthouse is one of several markers at the mouth of the Housatonic.

Stratford light, as seen form the street/driveway

Placard on the property

It's interesting to visit as an adult the place that was such a mystery as a child.  The light was visible from anywhere in the neighborhood, especially if there was haze in the atmosphere.  Two quick flashes of light if you could see the lighthouse.   From my bedroom window, two arcs of light would race across the sky on foggy nights.   

Stratford Light 1
Stratford Point Light  

And the foghorn.  Just hearing one today brings back memories of the beach in pea soup fog;  the smell of salt water;  the gentle lap of waves on the sand.

The view while waiting in line to go up
The light could use a little TLC...

Mom decided to sit this one out and explored the grounds while I ventured inside.  The grounds had several vendor tables selling souvenirs and giving out various civic and coastguard information brochures.    

Placard on the entrance to the lighthouse

CG personnel giving us a history of the light

 Plenty of Coast Guard staff were on hand to ensure our safety and to give us some history.  In the image above, those are the lights that were in place when I was a kid growing up.  A more modern light source is in place now.    Stratford Light flashes twice, with 20 seconds between flash sets.

The Way Up
The staircase up to the next platform, rendered in Black & White

More education at the second level.  

the second level had a map of all the lighthouses on the CT coast.   There are a lot of them, although most are automated now...  A nice map of the area can be found on this PDF.

Stair from the 2nd level up to the light

Another visitor and I check out the light itself

While you see circular patterns on the light, it is no longer a fresnel lens.  

Stratford Light View
The view South from the light

The view East

Looking East, we can see the mouth of the Housatonic River, with the town of Milford in the background.  Below we can see some of the tents set up for the day. Adjacent to the lighthouse is Dupont property, once home of the Remington Gun Club.  The circular driveway can be seen, but the shooting areas are long gone.  The site, while still owned by Dupont, is cared for by the Connecticut Audubon society and operators as a protected migratory area.   More information on that area can be found here.  

The view West

Looking west we see several beaches.  the first cove is private.   The second cover is a mostly public beach (Russian Beach), with a few private beaches (the houses in the distance).  At the far point is "The seawall" - a small cluster of restaurants and a small hotel, as well as the seawall where you can park and watch the surf.  A perfect spot for ice cream on summer evenings.  Definite childhood memories of parking there during storms and watching the waves crash over us.   (History of the seawall)

Mom, checking out the lighthouse

All in all a fun morning out.  It was no Boston Light, but I enjoyed visiting a childhood icon.  A thanks to the Coast Guard volunteers, without whom the open house would not have happened.

Photos of the lighthouse throughout the decades.

Additional Stratford Light history.

Look for my next blog post, which will have more artistic impressions of Stratford Point

Also check out my Flickr photo stream

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