Some say the New London Ledge Lighthouse, just outside the mouth of the Thames River, is haunted by the ghost of a former keeper who threw himself into Long Island Sound after learning that his wife had left him for another man. Whether true or not, it’s reason alone to pay a visit to this unusual and fascinating lighthouse at the mouth of the Thames River in Connecticut, as Parker Kelley and Tom Richardson did in August 2013 while filming the New London episode of New England Boating TV.
Their host was Todd Gipstein of the New London Ledge Lighthouse Foundation, an all-volunteer group that maintains the distinctive aid to navigation. The stately 3-story building, constructed in 1909 on a concrete-filled steel caisson sunk in some 25 feet of water, has weathered many massive storms, including the 1938 Hurricane; however, it’s in need of some major sprucing up.
Gipstein and his fellow volunteers, in conjunction with the Custom House Maritime Museum in New London, offer tours of the light. As you’ll see in the accompanying video, the lighthouse has numerous rooms and exhibits, including one dedicated to “Ernie”, the supposed suicidal lighthouse keeper (there are no records of a lighthouse keeper named Ernie). It’s all in good fun, but the best part is getting to see the lantern room and the views of Long Island Sound. Check out the video for a taste of what this historic structure is all about.