Five Mile Point
Five Mile Point Quick Facts
Year Station Established: 1805
Is the Light operational? No
Year Light First Lit: 1845
Year Deactivated: 1877
Tower Height: 70 ft.
Original Optic: 12 Lamps, 21" Reflector
Present Optic: 4th Order, Fresnel
Existing Keepers Quarters? Yes
Year Constructed: 1835
Number of Stories: 2.5
Architectural Style: Farmhouse
Construction Materials: Brick
Five Mile Point Lighthouse
New Haven, CT
(5 photos, 91KB total download)
Last Visited: August, 2004
Built in 1805 to help guide mariners into the busy harbor, the first New Haven Light was an octagonal 30-foot wooden tower on the east side of the harbor entrance. It was commonly called Five Mile Point Light after its distance from downtown New Haven.
From the start the light was considered too low and too dim. An 1838 inspection found the tower in very poor condition. The tower and the keeper's house were leaky and decayed. In 1845 Fifth Auditor Steven Pleasanton recommended the building of a new lighthouse on nearby Southwest Ledge, but this was deemed too expensive. Finally in 1847 a second New Haven Light was built for $10,000 on the same spot as the first.
The tower was very similar to the earlier lighthouses at New London and Old Saybrook. The twelve lamps and reflectors were replaced in 1855 by a fourth order Fresnel lens, and a fog bell was added in the 1860s.
With improvements in lighthouse engineering, the lighthouse on Southwest Ledge became a reality in 1877, rendering New Haven Light obsolete. On January 1, 1877, Southwest Ledge Light was turned on for the first time and New Haven Light was extinguished. Elizur Thompson moved from the old light to the new one as the first keeper at Southwest Ledge.
In 1896 Five Mile Point Lighthouse was transferred to the War Department. In 1922 the land was transferred to the State of Connecticut and the buildings to the City of New Haven, and in 1924 the City bought the entire property for $11,180. The New Haven Park Commission opened Lighthouse Point Park with the city's only public swimming beach.
New England Lighthouses - A Virtual Guide
The lighthouse is located in New Haven's Lighthouse Point Park. The park is open year round but the lighthouse is seldom open.
Nearest Address: 231 Lighthouse Rd, New Haven, CT
- From Old Saybrook take Route 95 south to exit 51.
- Exit 51 takes you onto Route 1 south. Follow Route 1 0.9 miles to the intersection with Route 337.
- Turn left onto Route 337 (Townsend Rd).
- Stay on Route 337 for 2.3 miles then turn right onto Lighthouse Rd.
- Take Lighthouse Rd. about 1 mile to the entrance to Lighthouse Point Park. There is an entrance fee in the summer.
- Drive into the park. You'll see the lighthouse over to your right. Park in one of the lots and walk to the lighthouse. In the distance you can also see Southwest Ledge (New Haven Breakwater).
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