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Name: New London Ledge Light   Map it!

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Also known as: Southwest Ledge Light (original name)

Nearest Town or City:
New London, Connecticut, United States

Location: Mouth of Thames River, entrance to New London Harbor, eastern end of Long Island Sound.

Click to enlarge: Photo    Large photo
Photo: Jeremy D'Entremont

Managing Organization:
New London Ledge Maritime Society

Telephone: 860-447-2501


Contact Address Information:
150 Bank Street
New London
Connecticut, 06320, United States

This is the only lighthouse of its kind. At the time it was built there were many beautiful homes along the shore in the area, and the residents wanted a lighthouse that would be in keeping with the elegance of their own homes. Many of the large homes in the area were destroyed in the Hurricane of 1938. This lighthouse is the scene of a famous ghost legend -- a keeper named Ernie supposedly jumped, or fell, to his death from the lighthouse after learning that his wife ran off with the captain of the Block Island Ferry. Ernie is said to haunt the building, opening and closing doors and operating the light and fog signal.

Tower Height: 58

Height of Focal Plane: 58

Characteristic and Range: Cycle of three white flashes and one red flash every 30 seconds.

Description of Tower: French Second Empire style, brick and granite, red with white trim keeper's house with short white cylindrical tower on roof with cast iron lantern room with red roof.

This light is operational

Other Buildings?
1909 keeper's quarters (integral to tower).

Date Established: 1910

Date Present Tower Built: 1909-10

Date Automated: 1987

Optics: 1909: Fourth order Fresnel lens (manufactured by LePaute, now at Custom House Museum of Maritime History in New London). Now VRB-25, solar powered.

Fog Signal: 1939: Air diaphragm horn; Now automated electric horn, two blasts every 20 seconds.

Current Use: Active aid to navigation.

Open To Public? Yes (through scheduled tours).

Tours are run by Project Oceanology on the University of Connecticut's Avery Point Campus in Groton. Call (800) 364-8472 for information. Tours are on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, 4 pm to 6:30 pm. The cost, including the boat ride to the lighthouse, is $13 for adults, $9 for children under 12. Reservations are highly recommended. The tours are conducted in cooperation with the New London Ledge Lighthouse Foundation.

To Project Oceanology: Leave I-95 at exit 87, CT 349, the Clarence B. Sharp Highway. Turn right at the second traffic light onto Rainville Avenue. Turn left at the next light onto Benham Road. Continue straight approximately 1.7 miles to the Avery Point Campus of the University of Connecticut. Take the second enttrance onto the campus. Continue straight to the waterfront. Parking is available immediately in front of the Project Oceanology building. New London Ledge Light can also be seen distantly from Eastern Point Park. Take exit 87 to CT 349 (Clarence B. Sharp Highway). Take a left at Rainville Avenue, then another left at Benham Road and another left at Eastern Point Road. At the end of Eastern Point Road at Shennecossett Road turn right onto Beach Pond Road. Bear left into Rita Santa Croce Drive and the entrance to Eastern Point Park. From June to Labor Day this park is open to Groton residents only. If you are denied entry you can drive north on Shore Avenue to a small beach on your left. One-hour free parking is permitted; the lighthouse can be seen from this location. It can also be seen from Pequot Avenue in New London in the area near New London Harbor Light.

Mapquest URL: Click here to get a map to this lighthouse!

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Keepers: George Hansen (c. 1913-1915), Howard Beebe (1926-1938), John E. Ethridge (Coast Guard, c. 1981), Richard Mumenthaler (Coast Guard, c. 1981), Vernon L. Smith (Coast Guard, c. 1981), Timothy Grant (Coast Guard, c. 1984), Donald Place (Coast Guard, c. 1984), Dean Notte (Coast Guard, c. 1984).

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