A lighthouse was proposed
in 1896 to mark Pecks Ledge, at the east end of the Norwalk Islands, as
Norwalk was becoming an increasingly important commercial port. A
lighthouse was built at nearby Greens Ledge by 1902, but it wasn't
until 1906 that the light was operational at Pecks Ledge.
It was the last staffed lighthouse to be built at a
waveswept site on Long Island Sound. Its life as a staffed light was
relatively short -- only 27 years.
In 1901, $10,000 had been appropriated for a smaller
structure, but when it was decided that Pecks Ledge Light would include
accomodations for two keepers, an additional $29,000 had to be
appropriated before construction could begin in the summer of 1905.
Pecks Ledge Light is a typical offshore light of the
late nineteenth - early twentieth century period: a sunken cylindrical
cast-iron foundation, filled with concrete, topped by a "sparkplug"
type cast-iron lighthouse made of curved cast iron plates, bolted
together, with a brick lining.
The lantern was initially fitted with a fourth-order
Fresnel lens exhibiting a flashing white light. The interior has three
stories of living space, topped by a watchroom and lantern. There was
also a basement containing cisterns for the storage of rainwater.
George W. Bardwell was the first keeper at a salary of $600 per year.
Plans for Pecks Ledge Light,
U.S. Coast Guard
In February 1913, Keeper Conrad Hawk was working on his
lobster traps and left some tar near the kitchen stove. He then noticed
that the nearby lantern at Grassy Hummock was out and rowed over to
relight the navigational aid. On his way back to Pecks Ledge he saw
smoke pouring from the tower's windows.
Thinking quickly, Keeper Hawk climbed to the tower roof
and managed to get inside the lighthouse. He blocked a kitchen window
with a quilt, stopping the draft that was feeding the fire. He then
repeatedly drew seawater with a bucket and managed to put out the
Although his carelessness caused the fire, the keeper's
fast thinking may have saved the lighthouse from destruction.
In December 1921, the steam vessel J.C. Austin
developed a leak near Greens Ledge. The four crewmen escaped to a
lifeboat, but without oars.
Keeper Charles Kenny at Pecks Ledge saw the helpless
men. Kenny and the assistant keeper rowed through five-foot swells,
picked up the Austin's crew and brought them safely to the
In 1933, the light at Pecks Ledge was automated against
the wishes of Norwalk area mariners. The original lens was removed in
1939, but the lighthouse remains an active aid to navigation with a
flashing green light.
Pecks Ledge Light, painted white with a brown band in
the middle, has suffered from vandalism, nesting birds, and corrosion.
It can be seen distantly from shore at Calf Pasture Beach.
You can read much more about this lighthouse in the book
The Lighthouses of Connecticut by Jeremy
U.S. Coast Guard
list is a work in progress. If you have any information on the keepers
of this lighthouse, I'd love to hear from you. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone copying this list onto another web site does so at their own
risk, as the list is always subject to updates and corrections.)
George W. Bardwell (1906-1907); August Lorenz (1907-?); Louis
F. Tucker (?) (assistant, 1906); Ferdinand Heizman (assistant, 1906-?);
Conrad Haake (Hawk?) (c. 1913); Charles Kenny (c. 1921); George H.
Barker (assistant, c. 1921); George Clark (assistant, c. 1921); William
Hardwick (c. 1920s)