Although the State of Connecticut has used it as a symbol to promote its “Preserve the Sound” automobile license plate that provided money to the community where it stands, no government entity in the entire state, including the local community, wanted to own what they all claimed to be so proud of. And, they could have had it for free. So the federal government put it up for auction and sold it for $340,000 to the highest bidder.
Connecticut, the fifth state to join the Union, the state that says its State Hero is Nathan Hale, and where the State Song is Yankee Doodle, a state that depends heavily on tourism dollars, a state that boasts twenty some lighthouses, many of which are tourist attractions, could not find one state government agency or local community, or even reach out to work with one nonprofit, to get the Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse for free. And the people of Old Saybrook, through their elected officials, shunning their community pride and maritime heritage, refused to take the lighthouse, even though its image appears on their police cars, police patch, and on a sign outside their Public Service Building.
So now, one person, Kelly K. Navarro, the new owner of the Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse, who owns a home in nearby Fenwick, will have to bear the burden of maintaining the lighthouse that is a symbol of pride to so many other people who really care about the area’s maritime heritage. However, as well having to spend additional money to fix up the lighthouse and care for it, she will have some other problems to overcome. She will need to negotiate a lease with the State of Connecticut that owns the submerged land under the lighthouse. Additionally, the breakwater that goes to the lighthouse is owned by the Army Corps of Engineers.
You can learn more about life at the Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse in the book Dory of the Lighthouse – My Lighthouse Days by Doris M. McLintock-Hubbard. The book is loaded with first-hand memories and photos of Doris’s early life at lighthouses where her father Andrew A, McLintock was the lighthouse keeper. It is available on-line at www.LighthouseDigest.com or by calling 207-259-2121.
Because one of the fascinations with lighthouses is seeing inside the tower and climbing its steps to the lantern room, something that most of us will never be able to do at the Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse, we’ve decided to show you some interior photos of the lighthouse that were taken a number of years ago, when the lighthouse was in much better condition than it is today.
This story appeared in the
Nov/Dec 2013 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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