Also known as: Outer Breakwall Light
Also known as: New Haven Light
Nearest Town or City:
New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Location: New Haven Harbor.
Click to enlarge:
The name of the lighthouse officially became New Haven Light in 1912, but it was popularly known as the Sperry Light after Congressman Nehemiah Sperry, who was responsible for much development of New Haven Harbor. By 1907 several cracks were found in the foundation and the lighthouse began to tilt. The cracks were filled and the tower was righted and reinforced with iron straps, allowing the lighthouse to remain operational until 1933, when it was replaced by an automatic skeleton tower.
Here is a message received from Ed Skvorc in September 2001:
"I visited the site of this fallen sentinel. After almost 70 years of neglect the caission foundation is like an old barrel with split sides. You can see the gaping cracks in the cast iron and the straps used to mend them. The cement that once filled the caisson is not much more than loose gravel and sand. There is some brickwork that was either the cistern or the septic system. There are rusty pipes and what must be reinforcing rods that were in the cement.
It's ironic that the foundation that failed and doomed the lighthouse is the only thing that remains. I had wondered how they could build a skeleton tower and tear down a lighthouse on the same place. It looks like they dumped riprap around the caisson and built a foundation on it to the south against the old lighthouse tower. The skeleton tower was built up in front of the lighthouse and then the lighthouse was torn down from behind it. All of this happened in 1933, before even my parents' time. I grew up looking at these breakwalls all my life and never even knew there was once a lighthouse there.
The view from out there is pretty and you can stroll along the west breakwall which is a medium-difficult hike. It is mostly smooth with a few bites taken out from storms. The breakwall looks like it was topped off with new granite at some time, because the edges look a little too sharp for over 100 years of weather. The skeleton tower dosn't look like it has been there for 70 years at all. It has probably been replaced at least once. The modern plastic lens and the solar cells are definitely recent. You can see the Southwest Ledge Lighthouse two breakwalls down, and marvel at how good it looks especially since it is older than Sperry or the breakwalls themselves.
I am saddened that this lighthouse could not have been saved, but I know after looking at the remains of the foundation that it was best to tear it down before the 1938 hurricane which would have almost certainly destroyed the lighthouse and probably have killed the poor keepers inside."
Height of Focal Plane: 61
Description of Tower: Conical cast iron
This light is not operational
Date Established: 1899
Date Deactivated: 1933
Fog Signal: Fog siren.
Current Use: Destroyed.
Keepers: William B. DeLuce (1900-1902), Bernard Francisco (assistant, 1900-?), Samuel Armour (1902-1907), William Tulty (1907-?), Andrew A. McLintock (1925-1926)