The town of Stonington, CT is an impressive community near the Mystic River. Whether it is in the architecture, the landscape, the fashion or the smiling faces of the people passing by you on the street, everywhere you turn beauty surrounds you.
The town is known for it’s lighthouse and the many infamous captains and other historical figures who were either born, lived or died there. The town preserves it’s old world, New England colonized appearance with touches of contemporary art and landscape.
Many of the homes are historic landmarks and restored to their former beauty, however the ones that are not, still take on the personality of a time when our country was first creating community during and after the Revolutionary war.
Stonington, CT has a particularly fascinating connection to England, being that they still honor the roots of the founding fathers and the traditions of the era. The town has a rich history, for one the first European colonists started a trading house there in the mid 1600s. Secondly, Stonington first gained wealth in the 1790s when its harbor was home to a fleet engaged in the profitable seal hunting trade in which seals were hunted on islands off the Chilean and Patagonian coasts, and their skins were sold as fur in China. Thirdly, the town won a battle against the British Royal Navy during the war of 1812 after a damaging three-day affair.
Some of the infamous places to visit while in Stonington, Ct include:
Captain Edmund Fanning was an American explorer and sea captain, known as the “Pathfinder of the Pacific.”
Captain Amos Palmer House, Artist James McNeill Whistler and Pulitzer prize winner Stephen Vincent Benet.
Amos Palmer: Sea captain and privateer during the American Revolutionary War; the original owner and builder; owned the house until his death on February 18, 1816.
James McNeill Whistler: The artist whose most famous work is the painting Whistler’s Mother; lived in the home as a child between 1837-1840 with his parents George Washington Whistler, an engineer helping to build the Providence to Stonington Railroad, and Anna McNeill Whistler.
Stephen Vincent Benet: The Pulitzer Prize winner bought the house in 1940 and it was owned by his heirs after his death in 1943 until 1983.
The Elkanah Cobb House: On Water Street in Stonington Borough, is one of the oldest in town. Built in 1760s, the Cobb House is a one-and-a-half story structure with a gambrel roof and unusual 9 over 6 sash windows. Cobb was the owner of the house at the time when Stonington was bombarded by British ships on August 19, 1814 during the War of 1812.
The Custom House: On Main Street in Stonington is a granite Greek Revival building that served as a custom house. Built around 1827, it originally served as a bank.
The Stonington Bank was chartered in 1822 and operated until the end of the Civil War. Stonington had some direct trade with the West Indies and was made a Port of Entry in 1842. It was probably around this time the building began to be used as a custom house.
The entire town serves as a relic, walking through it’s streets is like strolling through a time capsule of our nation’s history.