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Sheffield Island Lighthouse

sheffield island light

Norwalk, Connecticut
Built in 1826

Location:

The lighthouse is on Sheffield Island in Long Island Sound. The Norwalk Seaport Association provides excursions to Sheffield Island to tour the lighthouse and for picnicking on the grounds during the summer months.

Latitude: 41° 02' 55" N
Longitude: 73° 25' 09" W


Historic Stories:

Norwalk was a major oyster manufacturing center in the nineteenth century with a need for a lighthouse near the city’s harbor. It had one of the largest concentration of oyster beds and claimed to one of the largest oyster suppliers in the world. Sheffield Island lighthouse was built in 1826 to mark the dangerous ledges at the entrance to Norwalk’s harbor.

Sheffield Island’s first Keeper was Gershom Smith who also owned the island and deeded the lighthouse site to the government. He built a barn for farm animals and tended crops on the island. During low tide the cows would cross over to nearby islands and then get stranded. Smith would then cross over to those islands to milk the cows. In 1845 Smith was removed as Keeper because he did not support the newly elected President, John Tyler. In those days Keeper appointments were made along political ties.

Since 1986, the Norwalk Seaport Association has owned and maintained Sheffield Island Lighthouse. Norwalk is still one of the largest oyster suppliers in the world.

In 1991, an archeologist was working on the island when she heard strange music without a source to determine its origin, she also heard a faint foghorn, and distant cries for help with no one in sight. Other strange sounds have been heard by others who maintain the island over the years.

 

New England Lighthouses

 

 

Places to Visit Nearby:

The Norwalk Seaport Association provides excursions to Sheffield Island to tour the lighthouse and for picnicking on the grounds. The island contains a scenic nature trail as part of the Stewart B. McKinney Wildlife Refuge, made up of 10 sections or units stretched across 70 miles of Connecticut's coastline to protect a variety of wildlife, especially migratory birds. In early September, enjoy the annual "Oyster Festival" on the island.

The Seaport Association’s ferry arrives daily on the island during the summer season, with clambakes on the island on Thursdays.

The Norwalk Seaport Association is working in conjunction with Downunder Kayaking during the summer season to offer visitors to the island the opportunity to try sit-on-top kayaking, explore the island coastline and enjoy the island from a different vantage point.

There are plenty of museums, art exhibits, and events for everyone in Norwalk. You can visit the Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum as “one of the earliest surviving Second Empire Style country houses in the US." Here you can really get a historic sense of Victorian Era style architecture, and have the opportunity to observe exhibits and artifacts to learn about mid-to-late 19th century inventions and discoveries.

 The Stepping Stones Museum is an interactive museum for children in the same complex as the mansion. You will also find the Center for Contemporary Print Making, a unique historical, artful, and cultural resource for everything in print at the same location as well.The SoNo Switch Tower Museum nearby shows visitors how railroads used towers that house the mechanisms for switching trains from one track to another.

 

 

Directions to the Ferry

 

Contact Info:
Norwalk Seaport Association
132 Water Street,
Norwalk, CT 06854
Phone: (203) 838-9444
Fax: (203) 855-1017
E-mail: info@seaport.org

 

 

Local Boat Tours and Ferry to Sheffield Island

Norwalk Seaport Association
Provides ferry access to Sheffield Island from Norwalk to the lighthouse.

132 Water St # 3
Norwalk, CT 06854
(203) 838-9444

 


Maritime Aquarium

Uses a special catamaran called the "Spirit of the Sound," and is the only research vessel in North America with hybrid-electric propulsion. In addition to marine life study, seals, birding, and TGIF cruises, they offer two different lighthouse cruises in the Spring so book early. The one for Central Long Island Sound, covers Pecks Ledge, Greens Ledge and Sheffield Island lighthouses in Norwalk, Penfield Reef Lighthouse in Fairfield and Stratford Shoal (Middle Ground) Light. The one for Western Long Island Sound covers Greens Ledge, Sheffield Island, Stamford Harbor (or Harbor Ledge), and Great Captain Island.

10 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT 06854

 

 

My 300-page book, Lighthouses and Coastal Attractions of Southern New England: Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, provides special human interest stories from each of the 92 lighthouses, along with plenty of indoor and outdoor coastal attractions you can explore, and tours. There are also over 360 images here as well.

Look inside!

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