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Black Rock Harbor Lighthouse
(Fayerweather Island Light)

black rock harbor lighthouse

Bridgeport, Connecticut
Built in 1808

Location:

The lighthouse is at the southeast end of Fayerweather Island, connected by a mile long jetty from Seaside Park. Public access is allowed for a park fee.

Latitude: 41° 08' 32" N
Longitude: 73° 13' 12" W

Historic Stories:

Black Rock Harbor is sheltered by Fayerweather Island, which made the island an ideal place for a lighthouse to mark the harbor entrance in 1808. The first Keeper, John Maltbie was only at the lighthouse for five months until his death at the station.

The lighthouse was destroyed in the 1821 hurricane, and replaced in 1823. The 47-foot stone tower has since survived for over 180 years.

early image black rock light
1823 Construction
Image courtesy of US Coast Guard

Keeper Family with Great Genes

Stephen Moore, and his daughter Catherine (Kate) who replaced the first keeper, John Maltbie, after his death, tended the lighthouse between 1817 and 1878, over 70 years. Yes, the lighthouse was tended predominantly by both father and daughter for over 70 years. Catherine Moore, daughter of Keeper Stephen Moore, took over full duties of the lighthouse when her father became disabled in 1819. Her father still remained the official Keeper until 1871 while Catherine remained as his assistant to tend the lighthouse until his death at the age of 100.

Catherine Moore was appointed Keeper to secede him when she was 66 years old, and remained at the station for an additional 7 years where she is credited for saving 21 lives in the total 62 years she spent tending the light for her father and as Keeper.

Many survivors were brought to the lighthouse and provided food and shelter, but neither Kate nor her father were ever reimbursed for their expenses. She and her father, as was the case for most keepers in those days, also had the daunting, emotional, and exhausting task of recovering bodies of those that had perished in the wrecks.

In addition to tending the lighthouse, Catherine cared for a flock of sheep, carved and sold duck decoys, and had a little oyster business. She had no problem flaunting a shotgun to those that might trespass on her oyster beds, claiming that as a representative of the United States Government, and the oyster beds were her property.

She lived to be 95 years old, and spent her remaining years living at a cottage across from the local yacht club, where she had a relaxing view of Fayerweather Island.

sailboat by Black Rock Harbor light

 

 

In 1998, two Bridgeport natives, David Grant Grimshaw and Patricia Roche, restored the tower to its original condition with their fundraising efforts.

 

 

Places to Visit:

The city of Bridgeport offers plenty of diverse cultural events and rich history. The Barnum Museum is home of the world-famous circus impresario of the 19th century, PT Barnum. Visitors can also find the graves of P. T. (Phineas Taylor) Barnum, famous circus owner, and his famous circus performer, Tom Thumb (Charles Stratton) in Mountain Grove Cemetery. P.T. Barnum designed the cemetery for Bridgeport natives, himself, and Tom Thumb. He had Tom Thumb’s life size statue of 25 inches placed on a 40-foot granite obelisk.

Bridgeport provides visitors with a new sports and entertainment complex called the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard, with events happening year round, and the Shoreline Star, which provides greyhound and horse racing. The Downtown Cabaret Theater offers plenty of musical and theater events for all ages all year round. You can also bring your own food creations and have an indoor picnic as you enjoy the show.

The Beardsley Zoo offers fun for children and adults alike.

Captain’s Cove Seaport is a complex of buildings that includes an amusement center, a 400-seat restaurant, lots of specialty shops resembling a typical seaport village, and it promotes music festivals and events.

Black Rock Harbor (Fayerweather Island) Light, is connected by a mile-long breakwater from inside Seaside Park.

hiking along jetty to Black Rock Harbor light

The hike is a great experience and along flat land, and will bring you right to the lighthouse tower.

The parking fees to stay at the beach are a bit steep but the beach area is quite nice. It provides scenic views of the area with the beach area and park well maintained.

 

Driving Directions

 

Contact Info:
City of Bridgeport
Fayerweather Island Restoration Fund
c/o Burroughs Community Center
2470 Fairfield Ave.
Bridgeport, CT 06605
(203) 334-0293

 

 

 

Local Boat Tour

Captain’s Cove Seaport Harbor Cruises
Cruises are aboard a 40-foot Navy launch
1 Bostwick Ave
Bridgeport, CT 06605
(203) 335-1433

 

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, along with various tours, and even stories of haunted lighthouses.

Look inside!

book about lighthouses and local attractions in southern New England

 

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