Monday, August 8, 2011

Ledge Light

The New London Ledge Light is a unique lighthouse - probably the only marine lighthouse designed in a French Revivalist style. When it was built in 1909, local magnates Steven Harkness (Rockefeller's buddy, and namesake of Harkness Park) and Morton Plant (whose estate is now UConn Avery Point) insisted on a stylish design, rather than a simple tin can. The resulting structure is a square three-story house with a small light tower atop it.

The lighthouse has a rich history; it guided ships safely to port during the 1938 hurricane and welcomed submariners back to the Groton base during WWII. The lighthouse was converted to solar power and automated in 1987; the last crew returned to shore for the last time. (3 men had lived aboard the lighthouse at all times, to maintain the structure, wind the light, and spot ships in distress).

The lighthouse began to deteriorate, but a local couple has now formed a group and begun restoration with the intent that it become a museum. Project Oceanology, a non-profit educational group based out of Avery Point, has begun running a small number of tours with their Envirolab boats. I went with my family on Saturday, and it was quite impressive.

I'm starting to collate my images, so they'll be a couple posts over the next few days.

Although restoration has started in most rooms, and is nearly complete in several, one room on the west corner of the second story has been left untouched. I took a panorama from the doorway. Such a panorama is extremely difficult - any movement of more than 1% is noticeable on the final panorama, which meant I had to keep the lens within an inch while rotating the camera (my phone). Here's what Hugin produced from 14 images:

No comments: