STRATFORD, Conn. -- Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound will open the historic Stratford Point Lighthouse for public tours on June 11 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., rain or shine.
The property, which is traditionally closed to the public, is owned and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard and includes the keeper’s house, which serves as government housing.
According to the Lighthouse Friends website, there was a light at Stratford Point long before a formal lighthouse was built. Tradition holds that in Colonial times, a bonfire was lit at the point when a boat was expected on a foggy night, and later, wood was kept burning in an iron basket attached to a pole.
After Congress allocated $4,000 on March 3, 1821, 4 acres of land was purchased on Stratford Point from Betsy Walker, and a 28-foot wooden octagonal lighthouse was built under the direction of Judson Curtis. It was replaced with the current cast iron tower in 1881.
Lighthouses were first managed by the U.S. government in 1789, with the creation of the U.S. Lighthouse Establishment -- later becoming the U.S. Lighthouse Service. The U.S. Coast Guard took charge of lighthouses on July 1, 1939, when the services merged.
“Lighthouses are an important part of our nation's maritime history. For over two and a half centuries, they have guided distress mariners safely into port and continue to serve as a reminder of our importance of our maritime industry,” said Capt. Ed Cubanski. “Each lighthouse has a story to tell -- whether that story is of their navigation importance, the heroes and heroines that stood the watch, or their place in the community like the Stratford Point Lighthouse.”
For more information on the Stratford Point Lighthouse, click here.
The lighthouse is located at 1275 Prospect Drive in Stratford.