Way Back When … 1808
In 1807 the U.S. government purchased land on Fayerweather Island and built a lighthouse there in 1808. An 1821 hurricane destroyed the original structure, but a new one was re-built and completed in 1823. The current Fayerweather Island Lighthouse, also known as the Black Rock Harbor Light, is made of stone and wood and is 47 feet tall. It functioned until 1933.
Next week, on Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 12:30 p.m., the Fairfield Museum will host Jeremy D’Entremont, the historian and president of the New England Lighthouse Foundation. He’ll speak at the Museum’s “History Bites” Lunchtime Lecture series about American lighthouses, including those in our area, and the restoration of Fayerweather Light. The event is presented with Black Rock 375 and the Black Rock Community Council.
One of the most famous characters associated with Fayeweather Light is Kate Moore. Moore was the daughter of Black Rock Harbor Light’s third keeper. When he was injured, she took over his duties, even though he remained the keeper in title until his death in 1871. She stayed on after that for seven more years, until 1878.
According to D’Entremont on his website NewEnglandLighthouses.com, “Kate Moore was credited with 21 lives saved during her 62 years at Fayerweather Island. There were frequently vessels wrecked nearby in storms, and many times Kate and her father managed to pull survivors to safety in the keeper's house. The shipwrecked men were given food and shelter, but according to Kate Moore, ‘The government never paid us a cent for boarding them.’ She said that the worst part of the job was recovering the bodies of those who died in wrecks.”
Learn more about Moore and local lighthouses on Sept. 25, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the Fairfield Museum, 370 Beach Road. Bring a bagged lunch, and beverages and dessert will be provided. The lecture is free for Museum Members. There is a $5 suggested donation for non-members.
The Fairfield Museum & History Center and Museum Shop, located at 370 Beach Road, is open seven days a week, 10am-4pm. Members of the Museum and children under 5 are admitted free. For more information, call 203-259-1598 or visit Fairfieldhistory.org.