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Friday, July 21, 2017

Fort Trumbull - New London, CT

Welcome to another (late) Katie Wanders post, and this one, quite close to home.  The Amanda in New England tour continued with more local history, and more historic sites in my backyard that I have NEVER been to.  Our first stop in the history tour was a quick trip to the Submarine Force Library and Museum and a tour of the USS Nautilus.  Second stop was a fort Amanda had mentioned locally.  Just as I originally shrugged off the Nautilus, I responded with a "Oh yeah, those forts no one really goes to in the area? Yep".  Again we went and again I was surprised at another chunk of history and a gorgeous State Park 15 minutes away.

Beautiful state park, pet friendly and on the water.  No charge to enter the grounds (charge for the visitor's center/exhibits).  Great spot for an afternoon picnic, walk your dog, or to fly kites.  Great for the history buffs in the family, or a way to stretch your legs on a nice summer evening.  The museum/visitors center and grounds are packed full of history.  A water taxi will take you to Fort Griswold and New London City Pier/Waterfront District.  

 The first (yes, there were several) Fort Trumbull was built to protect the New London Harbor from British attack.  The fort later served as part of the country’s coastal defense system. The masonry fort (which is actually the third) that stands today was constructed between 1839 and 1852.

Built from 1839 - 1852, the fortification is one of a group of 42 forts which were constructed for the defense of the coast of the US and the harbors they guarded.  This group of forts became known as the Third System of Fortifications.  Fort Trumbull is unique in the "Third System" because of the Egyptian Revival features incorporated in the architectural design.  The Fort is a wonderful example of its era, a masterpiece in stonework and masonry.  The Fort contains informative markers and displays, a touchable cannon and artillery crew display, and gun emplacements.  

The fort interior features 19th Century restored living quarters, a mock laboratory, and a 1950's era office furnished to resemble a research and development lab at the facility.  The public also has access to the ramparts for a spectacular view of the New London Harbor.

  • The Revenue Cutter Service Academy at Fort Trumbull became the first U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and all U.S. Coast Guard training took place at Fort Trumbull.
  • By World War II Fort Trumbull had become home to the Coast Guard, the U. S. Maritime Service Officer Candidate School, and the Columbia University Division of War Research Underwater Sound Laboratory was established there. 
  • In 1970 the Navy merged the Underwater Sound Laboratory at Fort Trumbull with the Underwater Weapons Research and Engineering Station, at Newport RI, forming the Naval Underwater Systems Center (NUSC). 
  • In 1991 the Naval Underwater System Center in New London was renamed the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC).

The Center contains state of the art multimedia theaters, computer touch screen interactive exhibits, 3-D models, and extensive graphics and text panels.  This one of a kind center depicts over 225 years of military history and technological advances from the Revolutionary War to the Cold War.  Some of the main themes of the Visitor Center are the September 6, 1781 attack by the British under the command of Benedict Arnold, the U-boat menace during World War II, and the anti-submarine efforts during the Cold War.
Visitor Center Hours:
The Visitor Center will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm through Labor Day.  The Center is closed between Labor Day and Memorial Day Weekend. Areas where the public can drive into are open all year round.

There are no fees for parking or visiting the park grounds. A per person charge applies for the Visitor Center exhibit area and Fort Tours.

Facilities at the park  
Bathrooms, Conference Center, Fishing Pier, Onsite & On-street Parking, Visitor Center, Waterfront Walk

Dogs are permitted around the park grounds.  However, they are not allowed in park buildings (including the fort) or on the fishing pier. Dogs must be under their owner's control at all times, and be leashed and cleaned up after.  I did not see any dog bags around the park (or garbage cans!) so make sure you come prepared.

Fort Trumbull State Park was a stop on the Thames River Heritage Park Water Taxi route.  The Water Taxi offers an exciting, affordable, and fun trip across the Thames River between New London and Groton on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during the summer, with special sunset tours, in season.  The three taxi stops at the New London City Pier, Fort Trumbull and Fort Griswold landings brought excitement and endless photo opportunities for thousands in its initial season. 

The Water Taxi runs on a hop-on hop-off hourly loop between the three stops:
1.  At Fort Trumbull in New London the taxi departs on the hour.
2.  At New London City Pier in the Historic Waterfront District it departs at 20 minutes after the hour.
3.  At Thames River landing on Fort Street in Groton, it departs at 40 minutes after the hour.

It operates Friday – Sunday, 10AM to 9PM May 26th through September 17th.(Private charters are available seven days a week with reservations made 72 hours in advance. Special River Cruises may take place during the week. Go to Events for details.

Children 3 & under ride free
Adult Round Trip – $10.00
Children & Active Military Round Trip – $5.00
Adult All Day – $15.00
Children & Active Military All Day $10.00 ​
Season Pass – $50.00 (pick up at the boat or online) – All rides, All days, All season
For ticket purchases, tours, private charters, weather, parking, directions and more details, go to our boat operator’s site.

All tickets and Season Passes may be purchased online or with cash or credit card on the Water Taxi.

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