Digest>Archives> Jul/Aug 2013

Mystic Seaport’s Lighthouse That Never Was

By Timothy Harrison

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The Mystic Seaport Lighthouse in Mystic, ...
Photo by: Susan Hinzman

Most visitors today to the Mystic Seaport’s spectacular maritime complex on the Mystic River in Connecticut will see the beautiful lighthouse that sits on the water’s edge at the westernmost point of the museum’s grounds. Most will take a photograph of it, some will go inside the lighthouse and watch the multimedia presentation, and a few will try to get a close-up photo of the 4th order Fresnel lens in the tower. And some will leave with a better appreciation of lighthouses and their history. But now, through the pages of Lighthouse Digest, we will share with you a forgotten slice of the history of the Mystic Seaport Lighthouse.

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Ferdinand R. Harding, center, past Commodore of ...

Built in 1966, the Mystic Seaport Lighthouse somewhat resembles the 1901 Brant Point Lighthouse on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts. But most people, if any at all, will not know that this is not what the Mystic Seaport Lighthouse was supposed to look like when it was originally conceived. Also, for the web junkies, it is something that will not be readily found on the Internet.

The original artist’s conception of the lighthouse, as shown in the 1964 photo that accompanies this story, shows that the Mystic Seaport Lighthouse was supposed to be a generic looking lighthouse that would represent all lighthouses. However, as with many projects of this nature, future decisions by those planning and approving the structure resulted in a design change to the structure that instead made it resemble the Brant Point Lighthouse. Interestingly, the original artist’s conception of the structure that was supposed to be the keeper’s house at the Mystic Seaport Lighthouse did not change very much from the original. However, it does not resemble a typical lighthouse keeper’s house.

This story appeared in the Jul/Aug 2013 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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