State Street, New London, CT. Postcard courtesy of Charles E. Shain Library, Connecticut College.

The Octagon House, New London, WI – Courtesy of New London Heritage Historical Society


Commemorating its 350th Anniversary, New London, CT, reached out to other New Londons around the country.


Were all the later New Londons patterned after - or founded from - the first? Click on a state square to find out...

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The New London County Courthouse designed by Isaac Fitch (1734-1791) of Lebanon, CT.

In 1996, New London, CT celebrated its 350th birthday. The first house seems to have been built in 1637, the year in which English colonists, under Capt John Mason, subdued the powerful Pequot Indian tribe. In 1646, John Winthrop, Jr. and other proprietors from Massachusetts Bay secured title from England to a part of the Pequot hunting grounds at the mouth of the Thames River and settled there. Originally, they took the name given to the place by the Indians - "Nameaug," or called it "Pequot." On 22 February 1648, the town recorder wrote:

"The inhabitants of Pequit plantation have chosen by a joynt consent Mr. John Winthroup, Robert Hempsteed, Carle Latham, John Stubens and Thomas Minor for this yeare following to act in all towne affaires as well in the disposing of lands.... The same day the inhabitants did consent and desier that the plantation may be called London."

New London's history as a major port, a center of entrepreneurial commercial endeavor and, not incidentally, of religious dissent, is told in other pages in this special feature from the ROOTS & ROUTES archive. Meanwhile, here are some more glimpses of New London "then," courtesy of the Charles E. Shain Library, Connecticut College.

At the bottom of State Street, with its back to the harbor, is the beautiful brick Union Station, designed by H.H. Richardson.

The view from Union Station up State Street ca. 1910 is very different from the view today. The left side of the Street looks much the same, but the right side has undergone a complete transformation. The row of brick buildings has been replaced by a concrete office building and a small park was created on an embankment.

Much of the charm of New London has always been its Thames River waterfront and its beautiful swimming beach.

Many of the grandchildren of these bathers swim at Ocean Beach today.