Connecticut State in the USA has some unique coastal attractions that rival many Atlantic Ocean locations. An example would be the twenty three unmanned lighthouses directing the mariner to safe harbors. The closing of the doors of the last manned lighthouse and ushering the automation of all lighthouses on that coastline occurred in 1987. That light was the remarkable 1909 Ledge Light of New London. One hundred and two years has changed little on this lighthouse, as it was built as a sea captain’s mansion of brick and mortar to withstand all the elements. Set on a crib of concrete sunk 28 feet deep and topped with a riprap 10 feet more, it sits 18 feet above mean low tide to the base of the structure. It is a massive building and visible to all in the mouth of Long Island Sound.
The crews that lived there had tales to tell. The deadly hurricane of 1939 that devastated the shoreline, breeched the Ledge Light with waves over the Light Cap. The two keepers survived. Then there is Ernie. “Rock of slow torture. Ernie’s domain. Hell on earth — may New London Ledge’s light shine on forever because I’m through. I will watch it from afar while drinking a brew.” … written by the last manned keeper. It is said that the spirit of Ernie roams the Lighthouse, a worker fallen to his death in the 1909 construction. The investigation by New England Ghost Project warrants more stories. Some say the Ernie was a keeper, who’s wife had run off with a sailor, and Ernie, distraught, jumped to his death. Still, boats have been unhitched, doors left open, TVs switched on and off, fog horns blaring, and the workings of spirits abound.
Sadly, the state of the ironwork and the pounding of the sea has taken a toll and the light is not open to visitors at this time. View of the Light can be made from Avery Point in Groton, Fisher’s Island, NY, and New London’s shoreline Harbor Lighthouse. My recent “best” view is from a nine foot kayak just off from the Harbor Lighthouse on Pequot Avenue in New London. And, that lighthouse is now openning to the public for tours. The Orient Point Ferry and the Fisher’s Island Ferry pass several meters away on their trips. Maybe Ernie will be waving from the lantern.
New London Ledge Lighthouse Foundation
P.O. Box 855
New London, Connecticut 06320