Since the Colonial era there has been a New
London Lighthouse to mark the entrance to the harbor. It was the first
lighthouse in Connecticut and the fourth in New England. In 1801 the
Federal government assumed responsibility for the operation and
maintenance of the facility, and the lighthouse was rebuilt.
A keeperís house was added in 1863 and records from this period make reference to a foghorn, and though it cannot be documented, it is likely there was a horn long before this time. Ledge Light was built in 1909, and at that time the foghorn was relocated. The foghorn could be heard at the OíNeill home on Pequot Avenue, a sound that torments Mary Tyrone in Long Dayís Journey into Night. "It wonít let you alone," she tells the serving girl. "It keeps reminding you, and warning you, and calling you back. (She smiles strangely.) But it canít tonight. Itís just an ugly sound. It doesnít remind me of anything" (Collected Plays, 1162).
New London Lighthouse, c. 1900
The New London Lighthouse is also mentioned in Ah, Wilderness! In the play, newspaper editor Nat Miller is surprised when his wife says that she plans to spend the Fourth of July holiday resting and talking with her sister-in-law. "You can gossip any day," he says, admonishing and cajoling her. "This is the Fourth. Now Iíve got a better suggestion than that. What do you say to an automobile ride? Iíll get out the Buick and weíll drive around town and out to the lighthouse and back" (Collected Plays, 904).
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