Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse

Oct. 15, 2019

Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse (Breakwater Outer Light), Old Saybrook, Connecticut

Sparkplug style lighthouse built in 1886.


Location: Connecticut River near Old Saybrook, Connecticut on south end of west jetty
Station Established: 1886
Year Current / Last Tower(s) First Lit: 1886
Operational: Yes
Automated? 1959
Deactivated: N/A
Foundation Materials: Cast Iron / Concrete Caisson
Construction Materials: Cast Iron / Brick Lining
Tower Shape: Conical
Height: 58 feet above water
Markings/Pattern: White Tower on Brown Pier
Characteristic: "F. W., Alt. Fl. G., R. sector, 10 sec" (as per 1933 Light List)
Relationship to Other Structure: Separate
Original Lens: Fifth Order, Fresnel
Fog Signal: Bell, 1 stroke every 20 seconds

Historical Information:

  • The Saybrook Breakwater Light was constructed in 1886.  It is also known as the Saybrook Outer Light.  It is one and one-half miles from the Lynde Point Light.
  • The original optic was a fifth order Fresnel lens.  In 1890 a fourth order lens replaced the original.
  • The lighthouse was originally equipped with a 1,000 pound fog bell in 1889.  However, the residents objected to the noise that it was replaced with a 250 pound bell.
  • On September 21, 1938 the Saybrook Breakwater Light witnessed the most devastating hurricane ever recorded in New England.  The light house endured damage including losing a bridge to the breakwater, the platform around the lighthouse, and a 12-foot row boat.  The waves also carried away a 1,500 gallon tank of kerosene.  The Keeper kept the lighthouse lit throughout the storm.
  • In 1933 the light's characteristic was listed as being: "Fixed white 5 sec., eclipse 2.3 sec., red from 74° to 98°, covers shoals off Cornfield Point."
  • The lighthouse is an active aid to navigation.

Researched and written by Melissa Buckler, a Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Light House Society volunteer.