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New London Ledge Lighthouse

New London Ledge lighthouse

Groton, Connecticut
Built in 1909


Thames River, entrance to New London Harbor. Lighthouse can be viewed from a short distance. Best viewed by boat.

Latitude: 41° 18' 18" N
Longitude: 72° 04' 42" W


Historic Stories:

New London Ledge lighthouse was built in 1909 to accommodate shipping traffic entering New London's harbor around a treacherous ledge. Its rather elegant brick structure came about from requests from the rather affluent locals to have an elegant building to compliment their fancy coastal homes. In irony, most of these same homes were destroyed in the hurricane of 1938.

The lighthouse survived the 1938 hurricane, when waves crashed up to the second floor and the keepers had to take refuge in the lantern room. early New London Ledge light
Early New London Ledge Light
Courtesy US Coast Guard

The lighthouse was automated, and in 1987, the last of the keepers left the beacon.


Haunted by Ernie

The lighthouse is believed to be haunted by “Ernie”. The story goes that after finding out his wife had run off with a Block Island ferry captain, the Keeper returned to the lighthouse and decided to end it all, committing suicide by slitting his throat.

Many numerous accounts or paranormal activity have been documented by keepers who came afterwards, including cleaning the decks in the middle of the night, setting boats adrift, setting off the fog horn, and lots of banging and slamming of doors. Psychics were also brought to the lighthouse to help Ernie leave, but have not been truly successful. Some believe the entity is actually a construction worker who fell off the rook to his death during a prank by his fellow workers.

New London Ledge light view from the shore



Places to Visit Nearby:

The Coast Guard Academy Museum, in New London, contains artifacts that span over two hundred years of history of America's premier maritime service, (860) 444-8511.

Mystic Seaport is also nearby, and is an outdoor recreated 19th century village and educational maritime museum, with artifacts, exhibits, a working preservation shipyard, and four National Historic Landmark vessels.
Mystic Seaport view from across the river

A replica harbor lighthouse that is constructed similar to Brant Point light on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts is also found there where you learn about how mariners used these lighthouses.

There is a river cruise aboard an old coal fired steamboat, The Sabino, from the Mystic Seaport waterfront that also gets a very close view of New London Ledge lighthouse (860) 572-0711.

The Mystic Aquarium provides educational and up close exhibits of marine life that include sharks, jelly fish, eels, and barracuda.

In Groton, you can check out the U.S. Navy Submarine Force Museum. This is the nation’s official submarine museum, which houses the Nautilus, the first nuclear powered submarine.



Directions for a Distant View:

The lighthouse is best viewed by boat but can also be viewed from a distance on the shore.


Contact Info:
New London Ledge Lighthouse Museum
P.O. Box 855
New London, Connecticut 06320



Local Boat Tours

Boat cruises mentioned below offer many types of cruises. While some may offer specific lighthouse cruises, some will pass by specific lighthouses as part of charters, narrated wildlife and historic tours, ferrying passengers, fishing tours and other types of excursions.


New London Maritime Society
Provides special boat tours out to New London Ledge lighthouse. Visitors meet at the Custom House Maritime Museum. 150 Bank St # L
New London, CT 06320
Phone: (860) 447-2501



Mystic Seaport
There is a river cruise aboard an old coal fired steamboat from the Mystic Seaport waterfront that also gets a very close view of New London Ledge lighthouse.
75 Greenmanville Ave
Mystic, CT 06355
Phone: (860) 572-0711



Cross Sound Ferry Cruises
Provdes two lighthouse cruises between southeast Connecticut and Long Islamd Sound lighthouses; The Classic Lighthouse Cruise and the Lights and Sights Cruise.
2 Ferry St
New London, CT 06320
Phone: (631) 323-2525



Project Oceanology
Tour of New London Harbor which includes a walking tour up to the lighthouse tower.
Avery Point
Groton, Connecticut 06340
Phone: (860) 445-9007



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, including those that are haunted and their stories, along with plenty of indoor and outdoor coastal attractions you can explore, and tours.

Take a look inside!

book about lighthouses and local coastal atttractions in southern New England



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