This one-of-a-kind building was one of the last lighthouses built in New England, and it represents a rare case of an early 20th century offshore lighthouse that is not of cast-iron construction. The stately red brick building with its mansard roof and granite detailing makes a striking picture standing off by itself near the entrance to Connecticut’s New London Harbor, at the extreme eastern end of Long Island Sound.
The lighthouse was at first called Southwest Ledge Light, but the name was changed to avoid confusion with the lighthouse of the same name in New Haven Harbor.
Coast Guard crews lived at the lighthouse from 1939 until its automation in 1987. The crew worked in three man shifts, spending up to three weeks at the lighthouse followed by six days on shore. Somebody once explained why there were three men at the lighthouse at one time — if two men had a fight, there would be a third to break it up. The Coast Guardsmen spent much of their time fishing and working out in the small gym in the lighthouse.
Probably the best-known part of this station’s history and lore is the lighthouse’s infamous ghost, “Ernie.” It’s been claimed that in the 1920s or ’30s, a keeper learned that his wife had run off with the captain of the Block Island ferry. Distraught, the keeper jumped — or fell — from the roof of the lighthouse to his death, the story goes. Some versions of this story say that Ernie’s real name may have been John Randolf or Randolph. If there’s any truth behind the legend, it’s elusive.
First Broadcast: 6th January 2009
A self confessed super fan of Most Haunted and editor of GhostMag.com. Matt’s passion for ghost hunting began when he moved into a haunted house in his second year of university in Leicester! His favourite location is the Niddry Street Vaults in Edinburgh.