History of the River

Downriver from Chester Landing, Tom Gezo

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fall folliage trees surround Gillette Castle
Tom Walsh, Shoreline Aerial Photography

Gillette Castle

Perched high atop a bluff, overlooking the Connecticut River and the Chester-Hadlyme ferry, stands Gillette Castle, a structure as iconic and eccentric as its creator. Legendary actor and playwright William Hooker Gillette, 1853-1937, built this faux medieval castle over a…

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Turtle Painting
Russell Buckingham

Bushnell’s Revolutionary Turtle

During the American Revolution, Connecticut contributed far more than just troops and provisions. In Pettipaug (now Essex), the three-masted, 20-gun warship, Oliver Cromwell, was built in Uriah Hayden’s yard. Meanwhile, in a barn, just northwest of Saybrook (now Westbrook), David…

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Inner Hamburg Cove
Tom Walsh, Shoreline Aerial Photography

A Refuge in Paradise

Eight miles up the Connecticut River from the Long Island Sound, Hamburg Cove is considered by many to be the most beautiful, and certainly one of the best-protected boating destinations in the area. For generations its broad outer cove has…

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Connecticut River is a waterway
Hamburg Cove and Eight Mile River in Lyme, Tom Walsh, Shoreline Aerial Photography

New England’s Great River

The Connecticut River is a waterway, steeped in history, and flowing with natural beauty and environmental diversity. It provided sustenance and mobility well before Dutch voyager Adrian Block explored it in 1614. The River has played an important role in…

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aerial shot of mouth of river
River Mouth of Hamburg Cove, Tom Walsh, Shoreline Aerial Photography

The Great Saybrook Bar

The Connecticut River is unique in that it is one of the few waterways in the developed world without a major industrial port city at its mouth. Unlike the Hudson River with New York Harbor, the Charles with Boston, the…

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wooden ships

Shipbuilding in the Lower Connecticut River

Shipbuilding in the lower Connecticut River valley goes back to the 17th century. Earliest shipbuilding in Connecticut started around 1648 in colonial Windsor, upriver of Hartford. In 1650s, Robert Lay build a wharf at the present site of the Connecticut…

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