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Sheffield Island

Greens Ledge Lighthouse

greens ledge lighthouse

Norwalk, Connecticut
Built in 1902

 

Location:

On a rocky reef southwest of Sheffield Island offshore from Norwalk, CT.

Latitude: 41° 02' 30" N
Longitude: 73° 26' 38" W


Historic Stories:

Greens Ledge Lighthouse, built in 1902 sits atop an isolated reef southwest of Sheffield Island, a few miles offshore from Norwalk Harbor. greens ledge light
Image courtesy of
US Coast Guard

Keeper's Greed Ends in Tragedy

The lighthouse has a sad story in its history involving the greed of one keeper destroying the health of his assistant.

In 1910, Keeper John Kiarson left for shore to get much needed supplies and pick up his and the Assistant Keeper’s (Leroy Loughborough) paychecks. Kiarson, who had a drinking problem, decided to get greedy after leaving Assistant Keeper Loughborough at the lighthouse. He cashed both paychecks and went on a drinking binge, leaving his assistant Loughborough at the lighthouse for 11 fogged in and stormy days. To survive, Loughborough was living on potatoes, dog biscuits, and boiled salt water.

During the constant foggy and stormy weather that was plaguing the area, Assistant Keeper Loughborough tried to keep the light burning during his ordeal as the days wore on. The engine was causing problems with the light and Loughborough was spending much time trying to repair it to keep the light from going out. When he eventually passed out of exhaustion nearly 11 days later from trying to repair the engine, the light went out in the fog.

Local mariners notified the authorities, and the lighthouse tender Pansy was dispatched to investigate, where they found Loughborough in very poor health. Keeper Kiarson was immediately removed from his post but Loughborough never recovered from his ordeal. He died about a year later from tuberculosis.

 

 

One New England winter morning in 1917, Keeper Frank Thompson went ashore to get needed supplies. As he rowed back towards the lighthouse that afternoon, he became trapped amid monstrous ice floes from the tide that was taking him out to sea. One resident in South Norwalk witnessed the keeper in peril and quickly notified the lighthouse authorities. A tugboat was sent out with a crew to rescue the half frozen Thompson, and they finally found him late in the evening, and just in time time before he perished from exposure that night.

Over the years the ground under the 62-foot structure shifted creating a slight tilt, which continued to worsen causing the keepers to place all furniture on the lower portion of the rooms.

After the hurricane of September 1938 slammed against the lighthouse, it developed a tilt that remains today. greens ledge light with tilt

 

 

 

Places to Visit Nearby:

Norwalk promotes many cultural events in the arts and music for its community and for tourists, including it’s own artists’ museum, the Norwalk Museum, and the Stepping Stones Museum nearby for children. The SONO Switch Tower Museum shows visitors how railroads used towers that house the mechanisms for switching trains from one track to another. Visit the Maritime Aquarium to view their aquatic exhibits.

 

Directions for a Distant View

 

Contact Info:
City of Norwalk
Phone (203) 854-7900

 

Local Boat Tour

Maritime Aquarium

In addition to marine life study, seals, birding, and TGIF cruises, they offer lighthouse cruises in the Spring. The one for Central Long Island Sound, covers Pecks Ledge, Greens Ledge and Sheffield Island lighthouses in Norwalk, Penfield Reef Lighthouse in Fairfield and Stratford Shoal (Middleground) Light.

10 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT 06854

 

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, and tours.

Look inside!

book about lighthouses in southern New England

 

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