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Faulkner's Island Lighthouse

faulkner's island lighthouse

Guilford, Connecticut: Built in 1802

Historic Stories:

Connecticut's second oldest lighthouse, Faulkner’s Island Lighthouse, also referred to as Faulkner Island Lighthouse, was built in 1802, due to the many shipwrecks that occurred around the island. Even with the lighthouse established, although the light saved many, there were still many shipwrecks occurring over the years.

Keeper Eli Kimberley and his wife tended the lighthouse for 33 years and had 12 children. Tourists came in the summer to visit the keeper’s home where he built a small bowling alley with a well-stocked bar. After a drunken brawl involving about 20 men occurred on the Fourth of July in 1829, laws were soon passed prohibiting the sale of liquor at American light stations.

Connecticut's Most Colorful and Experienced Lighthouse Keeper

Even with the presence of the lighthouse, between 1851 and 1882, there were over 100 shipwrecks recorded by Keeper Oliver Brooks near the lighthouse, through no fault of his own. early ariel view faulkner's island lighthouse
Image courtesy of US Coast Guard

He is credited with assisting in 71 of these events, whether the vessels were destroyed or partially wrecked.

Brooks was Keeper from 1851 to 1882, and practiced his taxidermy skills on the isolated island on birds that suffered fatal crashes into the lantern windows. Eventually, the keeper’s house filled with stuffed birds and became a kind of local natural history museum.

The family enjoyed playing musical instruments and would treat visitors to concerts at the lighthouse. Sometimes their large Newfoundland “singing” dog, Old Tige, joined the family.

He was an expert at handling small boats in all kinds of weather and was known for his extraordinary skills, especially in helping with rescue efforts. The boat he used from Faulkner’s Island was an 18-foot skiff with a sail and long oars.

One of the most famous rescues of the region occurred during his tenure at the lighthouse and challenged his skills as an expert boatman. When he saved all survivors of the Moses F Webb that had wrecked during a fierce gale storm. He used his small boat with its long oars to transport the survivors to nearby Bruce Island first, as the wreck was closer to that island, and then brought them safely back to the lighthouse. There he and his family nursed the survivors back to health. He became a local and national hero, as all the newspapers carried his story. He received a coveted Gold Lifesaving Medal from the New York Life Saving Society. The medal has an engraving on the back of the Moses F Webb being rescued by Brooks in his tiny craft.

Brooks was also credited with the rescue of five people from a ship grounded on the rocks near the lighthouse during a winter storm in November of 1858, where he received a gold medal.

For more explicit details about these rescues made by Keeper Brooks, select the "Oliver Brooks Rescues" link at the top of the page to be directed to my blog of lighthouse stories.

Faulkners Island light


Faulkner's Island was used as a test site for various types of fog horns and sirens.

Today the lighthouse is being gradually protected and saved by the Faulkner’s Light Brigade organization. They were able to restore much of the lighthouse in 1999, with restoration efforts continuing.

boat dock at Faulkner's Island They provide an annual trip for visitors to tour the lighthouse and explore certain areas of the island.



Places to Visit:

Guilford is a small picturesque community that boasts the largest town green in New England and contains five differing museums for visitors to explore. Guilford town green

One of them, the Henry Whitfield State Museum, allows visitors a glimpse into the stone architecture that may have been used in the 17th century.

If you feel like hiking, the WestWoods and Timberlands Trails system offers over 39 miles of trails that include cave structures, waterfalls, salt and fresh water marshes, an inland tidal lake, and carved rock sculptures and rock formations.

In the fall, there is an annual open house for the public to explore the grounds and lighthouse, promoted and transportation provided by the Faulkner’s Light Brigade. The islnd is now a bird sactuary, and one of eight islands as part of the Stewart B. McKinney Wildlife Refuge. With the annual trip to the island, guests are given nature discussions regarding the local wildlife and preservation activities going on, and tours to the lighthouse tower.

Contact Info:

Faulkner's Light Brigade


Local Boat Tour

Faulkner’s Light Brigade
In the early fall, there is an annual open house for the public to explore the grounds and Faulkner Island Lighthouse.

47 Driveway
Guilford, CT 06437


My new 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 more detailed stories of Oliver Brooks, Connecticut's most colorful keeper.

Look inside!

book about lighthouses in southern New England


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