Last Visited: August, 2004
Black Rock Harbor is sheltered by Fayerweather Island, which made the island an ideal place for a lighthouse to mark the harbor entrance. Seven-acre Fayerweather Island, now attached to the mainland by a breakwater, at one time was a much larger island used mainly for the pasturing of sheep.
In 1807 the federal government purchased 9 1/2 acres on the island from Daniel Fayerweather for $200, and $5000 was appropriated for the new light station. The following year the first Fayerweather Island Lighthouse, an octagonal wooden tower, was built on the south end of the island.
In 1932 the lighthouse was discontinued. It was replaced by two automatic offshore lights.
After its decommissioning, Fayerweather Island Light was given to the city of Bridgeport and became part of Seaside Park, a recreation area established in the 19th century largely through the efforts of P. T. Barnum. The historic structure soon fell prey to vandals, who gutted the interior. The 1879 keeper's house was destroyed by fire in 1977. Luckily, the exterior of the lighthouse was never seriously damaged and the tower remained structurally sound.
In 1983 the Friends of Seaside Park and the Black Rock Community Council mounted a preservation effort. They replaced the glass and secured the door and windows. The Friends of Seaside Park also cleaned Fayerweather Island of debris, planted trees and other greenery and established the island as a nature preserve.
Unfortunately, the lighthouse and island again became sad victims of neglect and vandalism.
New hope arrived with a preservation effort initiated by two local residents. As a result of their concern, a lighthouse fund was established and began raising money in 1993.The group, in association with the Black Rock Community Council, raised $25,000 in cash and in-kind services, and the City of Bridgeport's Board of Park Commissioners matched the amount by granting $25,000.The Black Rock Seaport Foundation, affiliated with the Black Rock Community Council, oversaw the 1998 restoration.
The renovation was complete, except for one thing -- the group felt the landmark should be visible at night. Two power companies, United Illuminating and Bridgeport Energy, stepped in to help. The companies donated solar panels and lighting equipment. Workers and materials were transported to the island by Captain's Cove Seaport and the Fayerweather Yacht Club, and the panels were installed in the top of the lighthouse away from public view. The lights illuminate the tower but are not meant to serve as a navigational aid.
New England Lighthouses - A Virtual Guide
The lighthouse grounds are accessible by parking at the end of Barnum Boulevard at Seaside Park in Bridgeport. The tower itself is not open to the public
Nearest Address: Barnum Blvd Bridgeport, CT
- From Stratford take Route 95 south to exit 26.
- At the end of the ramp take a left onto Wordin St. As soon as you go under Route 95, take a left. This small road parallels Route 95 and connects to Admiral St.
- Take Admiral St to the end and turn right onto Iranistan Ave.
- Drive on Iranistan Ave for 0.60 miles to the end. Turn right onto Soundview Dr.
- Soundview Dr. becomes Barnum Drive.
- Continue on Barnum Drive to the entrance to Seaside Park. Enter the park (there's admission fee) and go to the end of the park where you'll see the lighthouse off to the left.
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