New London Ledge Lighthouse has stood on the southwest ledge of the Thames River in Connecticut since 1909. The lighthouse is located near the mouth of New London Harbor, about 1 mile off the coast of New London. The Lighthouse Board altered the lighthouse’s official name from Southwest Ledge Lighthouse to New London Ledge Lighthouse just before it was put into service in order to avoid confusion with the Southwest Ledge Lighthouse off New Haven. Although the lighthouse’s name was changed in 1910, Southwest Ledge is still a common name for it.
When the Lighthouse Service and the United States Coast Coast Guard merged in 1939, the Coast Guard assumed responsibility for New London Ledge Lighthouse. For nearly 5 decades, the lighthouse was operated and staffed by the Coast Guard. When it was eventually destaffed and automated in 1987, New London Ledge was the last manned lighthouse on Long Island Sound. After the lighthouse was automated, the original fourth-order Fresnel lens was taken out and displayed in the Custom House Maritime Museum. In 1990, the lamp was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The New London Ledge Lighthouse Foundation has been leasing the lighthouse since 1988. Before constructing an interpretative center, the Ledge Light Foundation repaired, painted, and cleaned the lighthouse both inside and out in 2011. The center utilizes the whole lighthouse and has a number of rooms filled with exhibit panels that teach people about Ledge Light and lighthouses in general. The center’s gift store, professionally made orientation film, furnished keeper’s room, and air-conditioned cinema are all available for visitors to enjoy. To book a tour and learn more about tours, please visit the New London Maritime Society’s website.
- Year constructed: 1909
- First lit: 1909
- Construction: Steel tower sitting on a granite and brick building
- Tower shape: Cylindrical tower sitting on a 3-story square dwelling
- Height: 58 feet
- Focal height: 58 feet
- Markings: White tower with a red lantern roof
- Characteristic: White flashes and red flashes
- Range: 15 nautical miles
- Status: Active
- NRHP number: 89001471
- Town: New London
- State: Connecticut
- GPS: Lat 41.3058955 Lng -72.0777377
- Parking notes: New London Ledge Lighthouse is only accessible by boat or personal watercraft. It can be viewed from the mainland and Avery Point and Ocean Beach Park are two great spots to view the remote lighthouse.
- Parking directions: Varies
- Location directions: HERE