The History of Race Rock Light –

Photo credit:

On Tuesday, July 26 at 4 p.m., the Henry Ferguson Museum on Fishers Island will host a benefit evening: The History of Race Rock Light.

This 45-minute video directed by Pierce Rafferty and Marisela La Grave tells the remarkable story of how a lighthouse was erected in 1878 on a dangerous submerged ledge amid some of the coast’s most unpredictable and swiftest tides. East. This event will take place at the Fishers Island Theater with a reception immediately following and is a benefit to kick off the New London Maritime Society’s restoration campaign for Race Rock Light.

The Race Rock Lighthouse is a two-and-a-half-storey granite gatehouse in the Gothic Revival style with a three-and-a-half-storey tower. The 67-foot-tall tower has an octagonal cast-iron lantern and a gallery surrounded by a wrought-iron balustrade with six brick-lined rooms in the basement and living quarters.

Building Race Rock Light was a feat of technical bravery achieved over seven years by New London’s own Captain T. A Scott. For 144 years, Race Rock’s red lantern and foghorn have guided sailors through the choppy currents of racing.

In 2013, Race Rock Light Station was handed over to the New London Maritime Society (NLMS) by the federal government through the National Lighthouse Preservation Act. Immediately after receiving the lighthouse, NLMS got to work sealing all the broken windows, cleaning the interior and carefully removing peeling paint from the walls. Two simple brick chimneys were discovered under the wall panel. The first public tours of the lighthouse took place in 2017.

In 2018, the Maritime Society launched an initiative to raise $11,000 for an architectural assessment and restoration plan for the lighthouse. Walter Sedovic and Jill H Gotthelf of Walter Sedovic Architects, were selected. Previously, the company completed the restoration of the Block Island and Faulkner’s Lighthouses off Guilford, CT. They noted that the Race Rock Lighthouse remains in extraordinary condition, largely due to its construction technology which was decades ahead of its time.

Earlier this year, NLMS applied for a large grant to replace the railing on the lighthouse foundation. The grant should also make it possible to repoint the masonry on the foundation drum to begin in the summer of 2023.

There’s still much to do.

The Maritime Society is dedicated to the preservation of lighthouses. In addition to Race Rock (1878), the Maritime Society also owns New London Harbor Lighthouse (1760) and New London Ledge Light (1909). All active aids to navigation, together these are the three historic beacons leading from the Atlantic to the port of New London.

July’s event will be the launch of the Race Rock Light preservation effort.


Comments are closed.