|Latimer Reef is a
dangerous area at the east end of Fisher's Island Sound, four miles
southeast of Mystic, Connecticut. As early as 1800 there was an iron
spindle serving as a navigational marker on Latimer Reef. This marker
was replaced by a buoy, then finally by the lighthouse in 1884. The Eel
Grass Shoal Lightship, about 0.8 miles away, also helped mark the reef
for 35 years before the lighthouse was built.
Latimer Reef Light c. 1890s
From the collection of Edward
Rowe Snow, courtesy of Dorothy Bicknell
||Latimer Reef Light is a cast-iron
tower on a cylindrical concrete-filled cast-iron foundation. It is a
typical example of offshore "sparkplug" lighthouses built in the 1880s
Three stories inside the tower served as living quarters, while the
fourth was a watch deck, topped by the lantern room. The tower was
initially painted brown but was later changed to white with a brown
band around its middle.
The lighthouse originally had a fifth-order Fresnel lens from Paris
exhibiting a white flashing light. The lens was replaced by a
fourth-order Fresnel lens in 1899.
The first keeper, Charles E.P. Noyes, a Civil War veteran, was paid a
salary of $600 per year. Noyes had previously been the master of the
Eel Grass Shoal Lightship. His two assistants received $400 per year.
Left: Charles E.P. Noyes.
Courtesy of Dan Hess.
|Frank Jo Raymond, a keeper in the 1920s, learned to
paint in his spare time and later made his living as an artist. A man
of many talents, Raymond rowed ashore on Saturday nights to play
saxophone in a jazz band. He also sold some photographs he took during
the hurricane of 1938 for use on postcards.
Guard lighthouse keeper Neil B. Patton at the lighthouse in the early
1940s. Courtesy of J. Patton.
- U.S. Coast Guard photo
||Latimer Reef Light was automated in 1974, and in 1983
its Fresnel lens was removed and replaced by a modern plastic lens. The
lighthouse remains an active aid to navigation.
It can be seen distantly from the shore and from ferries in the area,
but it is best viewed by private boat.
Left: The lighthouse
during World War II, courtesy of J. Patton.
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 email@example.com.
Anyone copying this list onto another web site does so at their own
risk, as the list is always subject to updates and corrections.)
Charles E.P. Noyes (1884-1912), Eugene Sheffield Nash
(assistant, 1894-1895), George A. Troy (assistant, 1910-1911), William
H. Smith (c. 1909-1914?), Frank Jo Raymond (c. 1920s-1930s), Neil B.
Patton (Oct. 20. 1942 - May 10th, 1943), ? "Durfy" Doyle (c. 1942-1943)