A Walking Tour of Old Saybrook, Connecticut
There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. This walking tour of Old Saybrook, Connecticut is ready to explore when you are. Each walking tour describes historical, architectural landmarks, cultural sites and ecclesiastic touchstones and provides step-by-step directions. More
There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. This walking tour of Old Saybrook, Connecticut is ready to explore when you are. Each walking tour describes historical, architectural landmarks, cultural sites and ecclesiastic touchstones and provides step-by-step directions.
Every tour also includes a quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on American streets.
Old Saybrook’s location on a point at the mile-wide mouth of the Connecticut River was arguably the most geographically desirable location in Colonial Connecticut. And its possession was a constant source of contention in its early days. the Dutch, who set up a trading post here in 1623 and the British, who followed a few years later, jockeyed for its ownership until a show of force by new governor John Winthrop in 1635 discouraged Dutch interests forever. And of course, the Indians who were living here were not anxious to leave, instigating the Pequot Wars. Even after Denmark surrendered New York to the English, Old Saybrook was the target of a take-over attempt by its British governor, Sir Edmund Andros.
Through it all, Old Saybrook emerged as the fourth oldest town in Connecticut and as the settlers spread out the towns of Lyme, Old Lyme, Westbrook, Chester, Essex and Deep River evolved form the mother town. Yale University was founded in Old Saybrook as the Collegiate School for the education of ministers in 1700. The Saybrook College of Yale University Seal is used as the Town logo on its letterhead and town-owned vehicles.
Because of its location at the mouth of the river, Saybrook became an important center for coastal trade and for trans-shipment from river boats to ocean ships. In the 1700’s and 1800’s along the shore of North Cove, and even extending out onto the river shore near the cove’s mouth, were built many warehouses and wharf’s to handle the ships and their cargoes. But otherwise industry never gained an enthusiastic foothold in town.
Instead the seaside location lured the tourist trade early on. The first resort development was recorded in 1870 when a company was formed to build cottages and hotels at Lynde’s Farm, known as Light House Point where it was said the temperature seldom rose above 84 degrees and “sea breezes blew from three points on the compass.” This development set a new standard for seaside resorts by restricting building specifications and prohibiting amusement concessions. One of the new breed of leisure class to seek out those sea breezes was Dr. Thomas Hepburn who brought his family to the Fenwick area of Old Saybrook in 1912. His daughter Katharine, was not yet five at the time.
Our walking tour of Old Saybrook, up and down Main Street, won’t actually see the historic waters but won’t be so far away as to miss the salt air when the breezes are up...
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