by Cathy P. Ross
Jun 27, 2013
08:40 AMCulture Cat
Sentinel on the Sound
Race Rock Light is one of the most fascinating lighthouses on the North Atlantic Coast, and it’s about to change hands. Located across from New London Harbor, Race Rock sits on a reef at the west end of Fishers Island at the mouth of The Race on the eastern end of Long Island Sound. Currents here are so treacherous that the lighthouse itself has been the site of numerous shipwrecks claiming many lives. Lore has it that the lighthouse is haunted—even members of the U.S. Coast Guard have reported hearing screams there—and it has been investigated by TV’s “Ghost Hunters.”
So who would want a lighthouse with such a troubled history? The New London Maritime Society (based at the Custom House Maritime Museum), for one. On June 27 the U.S. General Services Administration hosted a ceremony to announce that under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act (NHLPA) program Race Rock Light would be given outright to the group so long as it agreed to make the lighthouse accessible to the public. Ownership and the 'keys' were then officially transferred from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security United States Coast Guard (USCG) to The New London Maritime Society.
“We’re stewards of the light,” says NLMS director Susan Tamulevich, “and we’ve already planned special excursions to Fishers Island that include a stop at the Ferguson Museum exhibit Race Rock Light and lunch at the Pequot Inn. It it is our mission to protect and preserve New London's maritime heritage. We are committed to preserving our important heritage sites for future generations.There is no more thrilling site nor compelling story than that of this lighthouse."
Sentinels on the Sound: Summer Lighthouse Saturdays features Race Rock Light as well all the other lighthouses in the New London area and runs for 10 weeks beginning July 6. The event kicks off with a party at New London’s Waterfront Park.
Note: No tours are scheduled for July 13 due to “SailFest,” where a new USPS postage stamp featuring another lighthouse, New London Harbor Light, will be released.
Visit the website for a complete schedule of lighthouse-related events, which run through Sept. 7. 860/447-2501, nlmaritimesociety.org.Sentinel on the Sound