1868 Lordship

At one time Long Beach included all of what is now Pleasure Beach and Long Beach west. Stratford sold the Pleasure Beach section of Long Beach to Walter Nichols in 1887 for $500. Nichols built an amusement park on the beach and sold it the following year for $25,000 to McMahon and Wren. It remained privately held and Bridgeport and Stratford held joint jurisdiction over the facility until 1919. Exactly when Pleasure Beach left Stratford and became part of Bridgeport is unknown. Now the Town of Stratford is considering selling another section of Long Beach to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Long Beach has had a long and storied history. It is one of the locations where Captain Kidd supposedly buried his treasure on one night early in the spring of 1696. The full story can be found in the Legendary Lordship section on this website.

May 17, 1887 - LONG BEACH PROPERTY SOLD: The litigation between Walter Nichols of Bridgeport and the Stratford authorities regarding the possession and lease of certain lands on Long Beach came to an end last evening by the work of a town meeting held in the above place. By an almost unanimous vote it was agreed to sell Mr. Nichols 25 acres of land on the beach, including the coveted point facing Bridgeport Harbor for the sum of $500. Mr. Nichols is to pay the cost of litigation as far as gone, which probably amounts to between $200 and $300. This decision is regarded by Mr. Nichols and his counsel as a great victory as they had expected a more serious opposition. Work on fitting up the property will all the accessories of a day seaside resort will be now commenced at once. There will be numerous attractions providing to popularize the place and it is expected to have the resort open for business some time next month.

August 7, 1887: AT MANIACS MERCY AT LONG BEACH: Miss Adele Reno who recently performed with the Standard Opera Company in Bridgeport is the heroine of an all-night adventure that is full of startling incidents to say the least. One evening Miss Reno visited Long Beach, an embryo watering place about two miles east of the city. The beach is an uninhabited tract of land stretching eastward toward Stratford Light fully three miles on which a temporary hotel was recently built. During the day and earl part of the evening a small steam launch plys between the beach and the city conveying hundreds of people who enjoy the sail and cooling breeze. Miss Reno became separated from her friends and states that through sheer carelessness she permitted the last boat to leave her in solitary possession of the beach from which deep marshes and numerous creeks make escape impossible except by boat. Miss Reno relates the following: My friends left me near the breakwater to get cream and I sat upon the rocks to wait their return. The spot was delightful and the breeze enchanting and I am sure the time passed more rapidly during my reverie than I anticipated for I became horrified to find myself alone and the boat a mile distant from the beach. I screamed lustily after the craft, but failed to make myself heard. The hotel was closed and deserted and myself a solitary inhabitant of the dreary place. After a moments reflection I sat on the piazza of the hotel and laughed at my situation for I imagined no serious harm could befall me during the few hours that I was compelled to play the recluse. I walked up and down the beach in hopes of finding a boat in which to make my escape and I then returned to the rocks where I had previously sat and scanned the water for an incoming craft that would convey me to Bridgeport. For more than four hours I sat there when presently a man in a small rowboat shot past the breakwater in the wrong direction. I hailed the fellow and in a few minutes he was close at hand and I told him my situation. He promised to row me to Bridgeport of $1 which I willingly gave him and stepped into the boat. He rowed me a short distance and then deliberately turning around rowed vigorously in the opposite direction. I asked him why he had turned back. An exultant chuckle revealed the horrible truth that my companion was a maniac and myself at the mercy of any mad freak that would suggest itself. The realization of my helpless condition produced a feeling of dread that seemed to chill my blood. He rowed some distance down the beach muttering to himself about revelations of spirits and then addressing me said; I will show you where it is, be we will have to dig – dig like the devil and cover up the hole before sunrise. A long low chuckle followed his remark and then he headed his boat for shore. I was almost tempted to jump overboard rather than become the victim of what I fancied might follow for I had a vague suspicion that in the end I would be buried alive, but I was joyfully disappointed when he took a spade from the boat and deliberately walked down the beach. When he was out of sight I threw the anchor into the boat and shoving the craft from shore commenced rowing the best I could for Bridgeport. I had gone but a short distance when I heard my name called loudly from the beach. I listened and knew that friends had come for me. Overjoyed at my deliverance from the vagaries of a madman, I responded with a scream and soon discovered John Hanau and Ralph Mazziotta rowing desperately towards my boat. A brief explanation of my perilous adventure followed and the maniacs boat was taken to the beach. Then we started for Bridgeport where I arrived safe and sound after a night of adventure which I do not care to repeat. Messrs. Hanau and Mazziotta corroborated the story told by Miss Reno as far as they knew. Said Mr. Hanau; The friends of Miss Reno became alarmed at her absence from the hotel and fearing that she might have been the victim of some scheme, I decided to visit the beach at one. Mr. Hanau added suspiciously; but what do you suppose than maniac fancied he would find by digging up Long Beach? A few years ago the spiritualists in this city were informed by departed and less tangible beings of space that on the Lordship farm located on Long Beach, in a certain locality the hidden treasures of Captain Kidd were buried and huge excavations have been made in that section at intervals ever since and as Bridgeport has her quota of cranks and maniacs it is not unlikely that the companion of Miss Reno was another nocturnal adventurer prospecting for the lost treasures of Captain Kidd.

September 13, 1889: LONG BEACH HOTEL: Manager G. Bunnell of this city has pleased the Bridgeporters by an enthusiastic description of what may be accomplished at Long Beach, the pleasant Bridgeport resort. The Standard says: He says that it would require but two or three seasons for the place to become noted everywhere as the layout is one of the finest on the coast for a first class resort, reaching from the present pavilion eastward to the Lordship. If a pier was extended to deep water and hotels established along the shore the big steamers would land at the beach daily and there would soon be the most attractive scene of summer gaiety.

July 7, 1919 - CITY BUYS ISLAND FOR $220,000: Steeplechase Island, the future municipal recreation park will be purchased tomorrow by the Park board from the McMahon heirs for $220,000. The title has been searched and it was stated today the agreement was complete for the transfer of the resort at that price. The reservation contains about 30 acres. It is partly in Bridgeport and partly in Stratford. Water laps its shores on three sides. It has been reached in late years when open, by a bridge from Seaview Avenue. It is proposed now to have the old ferry plan revived, a small boat ride from the lower bridge to the island at cost, the scheme of some years ago when the island amusement flourished under private management. Mayor Wilson said today he is in favor of the ferry plan. He thinks that is the proper scheme for it gives the people a pleasant little boat ride at small expense. George Eames, president of the Park board, has hitherto expressed himself as in favor of the ferry. Negotiations for the acquisition of the property have been under way for many months. At hearings before the Board of Appraisal, experts on land values have testified the property to be worth as high as $600,000. Whether the island will be operated at all this year was in doubt today. Mayor Wilson thought it possible that the bathing facilities might be employed at least. The Park boards intention is to develop Steeplechase along the lines of Detroits Belle Isle. Note: Walter Nichols built the amusement park in 1887 and sold it for $25,000 in 1888 to McMahon and Wren. It remained privately held and Bridgeport and Stratford held joint jurisdiction over the facility until 1919. Exactly when Pleasure Beach left Stratford and became part of Bridgeport is unknown.

August 9, 1922 - LORDSHIP-PLEASURE BEACH BOULEVARD IS PROJECTED: Sentiment Sounded, Favors Speedway Connecting Resort with Summer Colony - Believe Link Would Prove Mutual Benefit - Council Members Favor New Motor Route: Construction of a boulevard or so-called speedway from Pleasure Beach, Bridgeport's million dollar amusement resort, to the present populated section of Lordship Park, is one of the ambitious projects for improving shore property and enhancing the popularity of Pleasure Beach, which, according to present indications, is being discussed. Agents of Pleasure Reach have sounding out sentiment among the residents of Long Beach relative to the construction of a road which would link Pleasure Beach with Lordship and have found the sentiment overwhelmingly in favor of such a road. The only resident who registered any opposition to the proposition changed his view when he learned the designation of the proposed boulevard as a "speedway" did not mean necessarily that no speed limit for motor cars would be enforced. When he learned the drive would be maintained with the same, regard for safety of pedestrians as obtains on the seawall drive at Seaside Park, Bridgeport, he withdrew his opposition to the project. Members of the council favor the proposition. It was revealed at a recent meeting of the town council that the Pleasure Beach people are strongly in favor of the proposed boulevard. Hundreds of automobilists who now fail to visit Pleasure Beach because there is no boulevard over which they can travel to reach the resort would go to Pleasure Beach if there was a boulevard. Besides bringing hundreds of automobilists to Pleasure Beach, it is figured construction of the proposed road would enhance the value of town property at Long Beach, now leased to summer residents at small rental. The shore residents would appreciate the road because it would give them a highway over which they could reach the trolley carline at Lordship. Councilmen figure that construction of the road would increase the value of shore property many times over, practically paying for itself in a short time.


Long Beach 1868


Long Beach 1910


Long Beach 1911


LB development 1932

August 19, 1932: $500,000 DEVELOPMENT PLANNED FOR LONG BEACH: Plans for development of Long Beach in Stratford which will bring about an expenditure of $500,000 on the part of the development company and provide 120 houses to be added to the Stratford grand list as well as a yearly rental fee, has been presented to the Stratford Town Planning board by Roderick McNeil of Bridgeport for the R.J. McNeil Corporation of New York and West Palm Beach, Florida. Mr. McNeil in his proposal to the Planning board which is being considered and will be submitted at the next meeting of the town council points out that there is 5,000 to 6,000 feet of vacant beach between Pleasure Beach and Lordship. The strip is approximately 50 feet wide in some points and not more than 80 at its widest point. The McNeil Corporation plans, if the council agrees to a long term lease, to bulkhead the beach the entire length of the area which they lease, both on the Long Island Sound side and the so-called Johnsons Gut on the north side of the beach. The land would be built up, Mr. McNeil claims so that a wide roadway would be built from Lordship to the end of the development. Electric lights, gas, water and all necessities of this type would be installed and the company would lay out a Florida development of 120 bungalow type of houses cost $1,200 to $1,500 each. The town is asked to lease the entire area for a lump sum instead of dividing it into building lots. According to the plans of the development company, $500,000 will be expended in the project clearing the town of all further responsibility in this section with the idea of taking over more land if it becomes available in this section. At present, the Town of Stratford maintains this beach and receives rentals for several lots on which houses have been constructed. There is still more than half a mile of beach not habited. Because of the recent request from the residents of Long Beach that the town assist them in getting water for next summer inasmuch as they will be no longer to buy from Pleasure Beach after October 1, several members of the council indicate that they favor the plan which would make it necessary for the McNeil company to run water lines to the property almost at once, if building operations were to begin to have cottages ready for next summer. Several plans having been presented to the planning board for parkways and other developments in this section, the board is not unanimous in reaching a decision on the proposal. Stephen

October 21, 1938: LONG BEACH AREA IS SURVEYED BY SPECIAL COUNCIL COMMITTEE: Group Headed by Councilman Peter Ring Of The Tenth District Begins Study Of Plan To Eliminate Further Buildings On Area Owned By Town. Will Have Report Ready For November Meeting Of Council Unless Special Session Is Summoned: Councilman Peter Ring, Charles Werwin and Carlton Schwable have been appointed as a special committee of the town council to study conditions at Long Beach on the town owned property and submit a report at the next meeting of the council on the thought advanced that no further cottages be constructed on the area. It was pointed out that the area from the west end of the so-called Lordship Park Association property to Pleasure Beach gives very little return to the Town of Stratford. During the spring months however, it requires much attention from the police department when owners complain of damage to the cottage during the winter months. The committee will also study the area from the safety angle. The narrow strip of beach is believed inadequate for use for building purposes. At a recent informal meeting of the council the members were unanimous in the belief that no further building should be permitted on the area. On Wednesday night the council committee visited the beach front and surveyed the damage done by the September 21 hurricane. They saw more than 15 cottages had been swept from their foundations, many totally destroyed and others partially destroyed or intact but floated onto the Great Salt Meadows. The council committee studied the leases granted to the cottage owners by the town which permits the town to cancel the lease at anytime. Many of the cottage owners have complained however that they has expended $2,000 and $3,000 for buildings which can not be moved except to be returned to their original foundations. The committee is studying a plan to group all of the houses now off foundation at the east end of the town owned beach so that they might be removed entirely if the town in the future wants to control the entire beach front. Councilman Ring discussing the issue said, If the town had an immediate use for the beach front from Lordship to Pleasure Beach I should not hesitated for a moment to say clean all the cottages off the area. However we can see no immediate use for the area and without roads, I doubt that it would become popular as a town beach. Something should be done for the people who have constructed cottages on the beach front and have suffered losses because of the severe storm. It is believed that the committee in its final report to the council will urge that the building inspector insist on observance of the B zone regulations required a 50 foot front for each lot upon which a cottage will be located. Members of the council indicated that no funds will be provided by the town for the purpose of construction roads, breakwaters or other measures taken to guard against future storm damage. It was pointed out that the town takes less that $1,000 from the entire beach front in rental and taxes. Councilman Ring said that his committee will make a thorough study of the conditions and needs before returning a verdict to the town council so that the town will be protected in future years should it become necessary to remove all the cottages and preserve the beach front for the citizens of the town. A survey of the cottage owners indicated that more than 95 percent of those paying the small rentals to the town are residents of other communities. The survey of the committee it was pointed out will in no way affect the Lordship Park Association property where the planning board has already ruled that A and B zone regulations must be enforced if buildings are to be replaced on the their foundations.

June 23, 1939 NEW COTTAGE ON LONG BEACH: Another new cottage is to be built on Long Beach in accordance with the new regulations of the Town Planning board. Edna Hickey of Bridgeport has been granted a permit to build a cottage on Lordship Park Association property at a cost of $1,000. In the meantime, minor repairs to all cottages continues, with the owners still clearing away debris from the hurricane of nearly a year ago. John Green is already organizing activities for youngsters at Short Beach. The American Legion canteen at the beach is one point to the advantage of the post when the annual inspection is made. There is one man responsible for much of the new cottage construction at the Pleasure Beach end of Lordship. Although parking is restricted by the sticker system, local taxpayers are planning to demand an even further restriction to keep out of state cars away. Lordship is one of the few beaches in the county where men are not required to wear tops. Town Manager Shea believes in 100 percent comfort for all. Kippy Green, always a familiar figure at the beach is not about as much as in other years. The Bachelors are not taking the usual interest in their cottage this year either. It can't be that the hurricane frightened the boys.


May 21, 1941 - A BOATS FRONT END AINT NO PROW SNORTS THE MAYOR OF LONG BEACH: Capn Roy Clare, his long-stemmed pipe bobbing furiously in his mouth, snorted disgustedly at reference to the prow of the boat he was building in the workshop of his home at Long Beach. Poets invented that word, he barked and anyone who has worked around the water and knows anything about boats calls the front end of the boat the bow and not the prow. Having delivered himself of this information, the Capn who is called the Mayor of Long Beach by residents resumed sandpapering his new type rowboat which he says is light as a canoe. Clare is a special policeman on the Stratford Police force, hired to preserve the law and order on the Long Beach shore. Long Beach is on the continuation of the island on which Pleasure Beach is located and is owned by the Town of Stratford, the cottage sites being leased by the town. Long Beach starts just past the WICC transmission towers. Capn Clare spends a good deal of his time making rowboats and this spring is engaged in the building of a new type of rowboat which is constructed with a plywood used in the manufacture of airplanes. The wood is extremely light and can stand any weather without effect. A novel feature of the boat is that the bottom is one solid piece and is fitted on whole rather than in separate boards. Capn Clare is 69 years old having been born at Boston in 1872. He came to Long Beach in 1915, erected the first residence there and has assisted in the erection of most of the others at the beach. He worked at the yachting center at Marblehead, Massachusetts around the turn of the century and took part in many of the races there. He was captain of several of the big racing yachts and it was while visiting local waters as a skipper that he decided to stay here. When the disastrous hurricane of 38 struck, the Capn was in Bridgeport. I could see it coming, he said. I warned everyone and got myself over to the mainland. The wind had been blowing east all day at about 65 miles an hour and around five oclock it shifted and came in from the southwest. Shortly before seven oclock it calmed and then it struck. We were a long time getting over that little blow. There were 14 cottages at the beach destroyed but mine escaped although the damage was considerable.

November 15, 1946: LORDSHIP WATER FRONT RIGHTS SEEMINGLY IN A GREAT TANGLE: Beach front rights of Lordship residents, of Stratford citizens at large, of owners of cottages on leased land and of owners of such land were discussed thoroughly at a 3 hour mass meeting in Lordship School Thursday night of last week in such profusion and such conflict that the services of the traditional Philadelphia lawyer might be needed in order to determine just what is what. The suggestion was made by Robert Trevethan counsel for the Lordship Park Association (Staples interests) that efforts be made to compromise matters without action in court. Ralph Goodsell chairman of a special committee of Town Council to investigate the matter of No Parking signs about Lordship streets and their relation to use of the beaches was present throughout the meeting. He declined to participate in the discussion or to make any comment stating that he was only an observer. The gathering was the monthly meeting of the Lordship Improvement Association thrown wide open for a discussion of the parking-beach questions and probably no larger crowd ever has been in the school auditorium than the 300 who filled all seats and stood along the walls. Clifford Hutchison president of the Association endeavored to keep personalities out of the discussion but they cropped up several times. President Hutchison produced a large map and indicated that Stratford has roughly four miles of beach front. Practically all of Long Beach owned by the town is leased out. Short Beach also town owned is largely leased to individuals too. Lordship residents have special rights to Russian Beach (or Staples Beach or Lordship Beach or Community Beach). The Improvement Association has differences only with the Park Association, he continued. We have no quarrel with individuals. Mr. Hutchison read from early deeds of property in Lordship Manor to show that areas were therein reserved for park purposes. Numerous deeds carried a continuing clause, he said. Perhaps some rights have been lost by negligence. First Lordship had just summer camps on the beaches; these grew into cottages, naturally but without warrant. Impressions have grown up that the people no longer have any rights on 2,400 feet of their own beach frontage. As for Russian Beach, the Park Association reserved it as a community beach for the people of Lordship. In 1933 it was deeded to Donald Sammis as trustee for the people; he personally pays the taxes to the town. The ownership cannot be questioned, said President Hutchison. The deed is recorded with the town clerk; the taxes are paid annually. Mr. Trevethan explained that while representing the Park Association, he was not empowered to commit it to anything. He corroborated Mr. Hutchisons statement about the Russian Beach reservation adding that it was deeded to Mr. Sammis as trustee and not to the town. It was suggested years ago that the Park Association give that beach to the town for a park, he recalled, but that suggestion was not adopted. The rights were given to the people of Lordship. We hope you are paying your share of the taxes on it, as I assured Don Sammis at the time you would. I am going to take a shot at this halo around the Park Association, averred Raymond Palmer. It has just taken us for a grand sleigh ride. It has violated rights given in deeds. It has violated an agreement with the Town of Stratford. Just recently it tried at Town Hall to get a waiver which would grossly have violated our building regulations. Let us compromise on our basis. We want open spaces immediately. We want cottages moved away as rapidly as possible with no more built. I am willing to go the limit on this. Irving Schofield brought in public beaches saying they had not been mentioned so far. I built my cottage to replace one which was blown away, he said. I could not buy the land. The town insists it is a public beach. I could only get a lease. He added that there are two and possibly three beaches which the town holds are public. Someone averred that the cottage owners have no true rights because cottages are on a temporary basis only on leased land. Neither the town not the cottage owners have any standing in this matter tonight, ruled President Hutchison. If the cottage owners wish to form a committee perhaps they can reach some agreement with the Park Association and with Lordship property owners. Discussion occurred at more than one point about 20 foot rights of way existing between cottages for use of Lordship residents in getting to the beaches. It was charged that use of such passages is denied at times. Its actions like that by the cottage people that have caused all this trouble, said Wallace Lineburgh. Certainly there have been occasions when police have been called and Lordship residents put off the beaches, said Mr. Hutchison. No denial was made that the space between the ending of Pauline Street and the water mark is public property and has been for years, but little or nothing has been done about it and no one appeared certain of the boundary lines. Mr. Lineburgh was appointed chairman of a subcommittee on that puzzle. Questions were directed at Council Chairman Peter Ring Jr., who represents Lordship in Council. Rightly or wrongly a very definite movement is on foot in Council for the town to condemn Russian Beach, he told his constituents. Several of the members feel that way. I think they have been misled but that does not alter the situation. On a motion that Russian Beach be held for the use only of Lordship residents hands shot into the air by hundreds; the vote was virtually unanimous. If the rest of Stratford wishes to use the beach there are plenty of building lots in Lordship they can buy, said Clifford Brodie. Former Councilman John Van Yorx urged that everything possible be done for Lordship residents to retain control of beaches; he suggested a return to the former system of the town issuing permits. After the vote had been taken on the Russian Beach matter several persons explained that little opposition is entertained to the use (not abuse) of beaches and that the great nuisance is parked automobiles clogging the streets, blocking private drives and often being run on lawns for parking. Frequent utterance was heard that much of the trouble is due to persons who do not reside in Stratford at all. A committee of Improvement Association members which was created some time ago to act with President Hutchison was continued. It consists of Donald Sammis, Clifford Brodie, Wallace Lineburgh, Kenyon Ottaway, Raymond Palmer and Clifford Stratton.


Long Beach Assn 1949

April 13, 1951: TOWN PUTS $100,000 PRICE TAG ON BEACH THAT WE CANNOT GET TO: The Stratford Town Council decided this week that the through Bridgeport road to Long Beach was too long and the possibility of the town making something of this stretch of sand was too remote. If we do not sell it soon or put jetties up to protect it, in ten years there will not be any beach, one councilman argued. So before there is not any beach to sell, the town has decided to sell the beach. Tentative price: $100,000. That was the offer turned down by the town several years ago and the council figures that it is still worth that to anyone wishing to develop it. The Long Beach issue was on the Town Council agenda on Monday evening in the form of the following letter written on March 24 by the Long Beach Improvement Association: The November 1950 hurricane winds and sea did extensive damage to Long Beach and Pleasure Beach. Approximately one half of the road was destroyed and is impassable. The beach is so narrow now due to the erosion that more than half the cottages have water beneath them at high tide and water washes across the road. Seven cottages were washed away. It is necessary to build up the road with a substantial roadbed to enable the residents to reach their cottages. It is imperative to construct a breakwater or a series of jetties to prevent the whole island from washing away. In ten years, sixty feet depth of the beach front has washed away. Many cottages have no further room to move back on and are practically alongside the road. The next storm may wash out the road again and major expenditures are required now before it is too late.

May 20, 1952 - STRATFORD TO OFFER LONG BEACH FOR SALE TO IMPROVEMENT GROUP: Long Beach fronting on Long Island Sound in Stratford between Pleasure Beach and Ten Cent Point is to be offered by the Town of Stratford to the members of the Long Beach Improvement Association for $63,000. The finance committee of the Stratford Town Council meeting last night voted unanimously to recommend to the Council at its June 9 meeting to sell the town owned beach front to the Association at the present assessed value. Frederick Young, town assessor told the committee meeting that the 21 acres of beach land between Bridgeport and Lordship is assessed at $63,000 or $3,000 per acre. Although an actual survey of the area may disclose less that the 21 acres it was agreed that the $63,000 price should hold. Frank Larkin council chairman who proposed the sale of the property pointed out that because of a large breach in the shore front at Ten Cent Point access to the beach front is possible only through Pleasure Beach. Police and fire apparatus he said are now required to go through Bridgeport to answer calls from the beach area. The town has done nothing to repair roads of give service to the cottage residents in many years he said. Representatives of the Long Beach Improvement Association who were present at the meeting said that if they could acquire title to the land they plan to construct jetties into the Sound to prevent further erosion of the beach front and would also build and maintain their own private roads in the cottage area. Except for police and fire service, which they now receive, the improvement group said they would not ask further town services. Inasmuch as the finance committee of the Council is comprised of all members of the Town Council, the action of recommending sale to the June 9 Council meeting is a formality, Mr. Larkin pointed out and lawyers for both sides will begin at once the preparation of necessary contracts for purchase of the land. Two years ago the Council asked $75,000 for the 21 acre tract but it was admitted by Council members during the meeting last night that considerable portions of the beach front have since been washed away by severe winter storms and lack of jetties. Town Manager Harry Flood pointed out that in the event the sale of the property was not approved the town would have a responsibility of constructing and maintaining roads and providing other services to the cottage owners. Mr. Young told the meeting that there are 55 cottages on the shore front at the present time, each paying $100 annually for land rent and an overall assessment of $55,660 for the cottages. The town realizes $3,200 in taxes from the cottages or a total of $8,700 from the entire project. Sale of the property will place the land back of the tax list Council members said. Councilman J. Edward Pratt, second district, offered the motion to sell the beach front pointing out that the town will realized more from taxes and expense of upkeep will be eliminated.


August 11, 1958 - DEVELOPMENT PLAN OUTLINED BY RESIDENTS OF LONG BEACH: A plan to develop the Short Beach area, Stratford, into a well equipped public seaside bathing resort, will be submitted tonight by cottage owners at a meeting of the Town Council. The proposal, devised by the executive board of the Cottage Owners Association, is an alternate to the town plan of taking over the summer homes in order to develop the beach area as a town park. A petition submitted by the Association to extend leases two more years was tabled at a council meeting on July-28. More than 300 persons heard arguments for and against the town's proposal to raze the cottages after present leases expire Oct. 1. The plan slated to be shown tonight by the Association's representatives, includes a 2,000 car parking area, a marina, sports area and an amphitheater. The project also calls for the addition of fill which might be obtained without cost from the dredging of Bridgeport harbor, and the creation of a 7,500 foot sandy beach with a drive its entire length connecting Lordship with Pleasure Beach. The new Long Beach plan had not been conceived at that time, but now the Association has a professionally drawn map and a fully detailed description for submission to the town's Waterfront Authority. Members believe the cost would be far below that needed for the development of the Short Beach area. When it was described yesterday to Tenth District Councilman Frederick Biebel believes this area is the finest beach in the state and it is a shame that nothing has been done to make this beautiful place available to the citizens of Stratford. I have always felt that Long Beach could be made into a beautiful park and swimming area. When I was a boy, I used to walk out to Long Beach to swim and fish. Its' development should be comparatively inexpensive as the natural terrain lends itself perfectly to the plan. Philip Barske, field representative for the Wild Life Management Institute, who has been pushing for the development of Short beach as a recreation area, attended the meeting of the Cottage Owners yesterday and expressed his approval of the Long Beach plan as a progressive step in the conservation of water front property for the benefit of the public." George Goddu, a member of the executive board of the association, claimed that not only would the cost of the Long Beach plan be far below the Short Beach project (which he estimated at 10 to 15 million dollars) but that the beach area is much more desirable. He said: "Long Beach has a gentle slope that makes for perfect swimming 24 hours a day, with no sandbars, no mud holes and no currents. It is directly on the Sound and not on the mouth of the Housatonic River. "It will need about two million cubic yards of fill, but since about six million yards are slated to be dredged from Bridgeport harbor, we should be able to get this easily at no cost at all. A small amount of marsh area back of the beach will have to be purchased, but since it is marsh land the price should be low. We envision a beach about 150 feet wide the entire length." The map of the project shows a causeway to connect the proposed beach drive to the intersection of Lordship Road and Lordship Boulevard. "This gives free access to the park from five different roads, Mr. Goddu said, "and is designed to avoid any possible traffic congestion." The plan includes a marina to accommodate 400 boats, a launching ramp for small boats, baseball diamonds, tennis courts and an outdoor amphitheater for concerts, plays and other civic functions.


1938 Long Beach Cottages


1988 Long Beach Cottages


Long Beach 1964


Long Beach Pavilion


Barge 1965


Barge 1965


Long Beach 1964

August 15, 1958: LONG BEACH PLAN TOO LITTLE, LATE TO SAVE COTTAGES: Stratfords Long Beach, a crazy mixed up kid, will probably not be the sacrificial lamb for the Short Beach cottage owners it appeared likely today. The fact that Short Beach is mine all mine feel most Stratford Town fathers is an almost insurmountable barrier for the Long Beach development advocates. Long Beach, a tired strip with little width is owned by the Town, but substantial development would mean buying land, gunk, marsh and water rights from approximately 25 property owners who belly over from the Great Meadows. For those who have been away too long or have not done much reading lately, here is a hasty chronology:

  1. The Town of Stratford announced that it was going to take over the Short Beach cottages in accordance with a legal and long passed Town ordinance come October 1st.
  2. The Short Beach cottage owners banded together and asked for a two year extension on the termination of their leases based on the fact that the town did not have either money or a plan for the development of Short Beach as a park and beach for all residents.
  3. Short Beach cottage owners proposed an alternate plan for the development of Long Beach instead of Short. Devised by the executive board of the Cottage Owners Association the project calls for the addition of fill which might be obtained without cost form the dredging of Bridgeport harbor and the creation of a 7,500 foot sandy beach with a drive its entire length connecting Lordship with Pleasure Beach. The plan, hastily drawn, included a 2,000 car parking area, a boat marina, sports areas and an amphitheater.
  4. The plea of Short Beach cottage owners for a two year extension of land leases which expire September 30 was rejected on Monday by the Town Council. The Council agreed however to new conditional one year leases permitting the cottages to remain on town owned land until September 30, 1959. Councilman Joseph Venables of the Eight district proposed that at the expiration of the present leases as provided by the ordinance adopted in 1953, the Town Manager be authorized to issue conditional leases to the cottage owners for a period of one year with no lease to go beyond September 30, 1959. The leases will be issued to the cottage owners only if they sign an agreement to be made a part of the lease stating that they will seek no further extension and will not take the matter into the courts.
  5. The Stratford News approached the Short Beach cottage owners representatives on Monday and asked for a copy of the proposed Long Beach plan, reportedly professionally drawn. The News was told that the plan was made but that any reproducible copies of the plan would not be ready by publication date.

Fred Biebel was the only councilman voting in favor of a two year extension and he was the only one to publicly endorse the substitute Long Beach development plan. Said on Monday: I believe this are is the finest beach in the state and it is a shame that nothing has been done to make this beautiful place available to the citizens of Stratford. I have always felt that Long Beach could be made into a beautiful park and swimming area. When I was a boy I used to walk out to Long Beach to swim and fish. Its development should be comparatively inexpensive as the natural terrain lends itself perfectly to the plan. Town Manager Harry Flood who appeared doubtful that the town would be able to swing Long Beach said that he had contacted the State some time ago relative to Long Beach. It could be a perfect State Park and there would be little expense to the town, he said.

April 28, 1960: LORDSHIP ACTION SLATED ON BEACH PROPOSITION: Lordship may not be going to have a private marina off Oak Bluff Avenue, but it will get some action towards the preservation of its beach front. The Planning and Zoning Commission has turned down the petition of the Mianus Realty Company of Devon which sought permission to establish a marina in the Great Meadows. The Town Council has agreed informally that the Waterfront Authority should plan and obtain estimates of the cost of developing Long Beach as a public area. The P & Z Commission did not say why it rejected the Mianus Co. petition which was opposed by Lordship residents. Plans of the firm called for dredging a marina, filling in the meadows area adjacent to Oak Bluffs Avenue and establishment of a summer home colony there. The Commission also turned down a petition in which Mianus had sought permission to remove 42,000 cubic yards of soil from the Meadows property. A couple of weeks ago Mianus created something of a crisis in Lordship when trucks began to dump fill into the meadows alongside the Burma Road as the route from Lordship to Hollister Avenue in Bridgeport is called by locals. The latter were quick to realize that the material being dumped was the kind that would quickly dry up and blow right into Lordship. They besought Town Manager Harry Flood to halt it and he did. The dumpers said they thought they had obtained all the permission necessary when they got an okay from owners of the property in which the dumping was taking place and permission from the State Highway Department to lower the guard rail alongside the highway in order to back their trucks into position. That they also needed permission from the town apparently had not occurred to them. The progress made in the Save the Beach campaign waged by Lordship Councilman Fred Biebel Jr. was made at an informal joint session of Council and Waterfront Authority. Approximately 7,500 feet of fine beach front that is being washed away more and more each year is a stake. The frontage is Long Beach where a number of private cottages are built on leased land. The lease is due to expire in 1963 after which the property will revert to public ownership unless the leases are renewed. Present expectation is that they will not be. Waterfront Authority Chairman Ed Stodolink told the group that he had discussed the problem of the disappearing beach with the State Water Resources. Council members indicated they would approve an appropriation for a survey as soon as the Waterfront Authority is ready to proceed with one.

June 23, 1965: LONG BEACH: Town Manager Richard Blake has announced that construction on a roadway and parking areas at Long Beach in Lordship is underway and a major portion of that construction is expected to be completed shortly. The beach will shortly have parking provision for some 100 to 150 automobiles and a gravel road up to the second jetty. Although this is all the work that is expected to be done this year, Blake said that the development of the beach is not finished by any means. We hope that the new road and parking facilities will induce bathers to use that portion of the beach between the first and second jetties which is really much more suitable that the section near Oak Bluff Avenue. There are too many mussel beds and rocks in the area now primarily used for swimming, The new road will make a better beach accessible to bathers. Blake said that the beach now has life guard stands and chemical toilet facilities. Next year he added, drinking water will be piped into the area and a pavilion will be placed to the west of the roadway termination. We hope some day to be able to do the same thing on the Pleasure Beach side of Long Beach after the cottages are removed and Honeyspot Road extension is constructed out to the waterfront. This will give us across from both sides and a wider use of the beach facility, Blake said. The improvements to the beach are just the first stage, Blake pointed out in its development. He hopes eventually to define sections of the beach for specific uses such as fishing, bathing, boating and water sports. Blake emphasized that use of the beach is restricted to Stratford residents and that a beach sticker, the same as that used for Short Beach is required for admittance.

March 31, 1966: PAVILION AT LONG BEACH: There may be a place in the sun or rather out of the sun for Long Beach bathers this summer. If present plans are completed before the swimming season, Long Beach will have a 200 foot long and 40 foot wide pavilion containing a shower area, dressing area, rest rooms, a concession, a Red Cross and life guard assembly area and a general space for rest and recreation in the shade. Designed by John Stasko of the Town Engineering Department, the proposed pavilion will be the topic of a resolution to be introduced at the April meeting of the Town Council. Town Council chairman Patrick Keogh will ask the Council to authorize expenditure of funds for construction of the pavilion. Town Engineer Wesley Cronk says the pavilion will be another step in enhancing the natural beauty of the mile and one half long beach, the Towns best public beach. Recent changes have included the construction of seven groins, which it is hoped, retain tidal deposits of sand on the beach. Still more recent has been the removal of the gravel roadway from the back of the beach. Cronk said the road had detracted from the beach and that traffic along the road interfered with swimmers and sunbathers. This beach is one of the Towns finest natural assets said Cronk. We hope to make improvements there which will increase its value to all who want to use it. Cronk said the design of the pavilion would fit in with the idea of maintaining the beach in as natural a condition as possible. The pavilion will incorporate post and beam construction said Cronk. It will have a wide overhanging roof for shelter and it will have a wide ledge running around the open sides. The floor of the pavilion will be constructed two feet off the ground and the entire structure will be set back from the normal high water mark as far as possible Cronk said.


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October 13, 1966 - SIC URGES CAUSEWAY: Stratford could make $2 million a year in increased tax revenue from industrial buildings if it agrees to carry out a plan to build a causeway in the Great Meadows area of town. In a meeting between the Town Council and the Stratford Industrial Center Inc., a private development corporation with extensive landholdings in the Great Meadows of Stratford, SIC President Martin Ryan Jr., presented his views on the need for and the benefits to the Town of a causeway across Lewis Gut. Ryan arranged for representatives from the State Water Resources Commission, the State Development Commission, United Illuminating area development program and the engineering firm of Fletcher-Thompson Inc of Bridgeport to discuss details of the development plans which he proposes for the Great Meadows area. Using aerial photographs to show the area, Ryan pointed out that the portion of land to be developed is located away from the residential section of Lordship and will be serviced by traffic routes through nonresidential areas, that causeway construction would open up for recreational purposes a large portion of Long Beach now all but unreachable and that the causeway would allow the creation of deep water facilities (a harbor for ocean going vessels) which would attract major industry to the area. Tracing the history of attempts to put harbor facilities into the Great Meadows, Ryan said it was initially proposed in 1945 when Mayor of Bridgeport Jasper McLevy rejected the area. Ryan explained that Bridgeport and Stratford would have to work together on the project because the deep water facility hangs on the elimination of the Pleasure Beach bridge in Bridgeport, the only access to Pleasure Beach for that Citys residents. He said the road across the Meadows to the causeway would have to be used by Bridgeport to provide linkup to Pleasure Beach which the demolition of the bridge would eliminate. To allay fears that Pleasure Beach may be slated for some development of its own, Ryan explained the beach is a dedicated park and use of the site for any other purposed would require an act of the State Legislature. Ryan said the cost of constructing the necessary roadway and the causeway itself would be small compared to the large tax revenue increase which would result from the Meadow property when it is fully developed. Ryan said the amount which would have to be paid by Stratford would be approximately $175,000. The revenue increase could amount to $2 million. Based on the current rate of taxation in Stratford, this would mean development of the Meadows could add approximately $70 million to the Towns Grand List. To support his claims, Ryan indicated that there was one plant now considering building what would amount to a $10 million facility in the Meadows. He mentioned several other major industries which had considered the site but had decided against it because of the lack of deep water facilities. John Curry, Chief Engineer of the State Department of Water Resources explained the value of the causeway if it were to be planned for possible inclusion in a diking system in the future. Curry said that the State has spent much money on the dredging and developing of the area, both for Bridgeport and Stratford with the intention of providing eventual hurricane protection here by means of the dikes. He said Long Beach was in danger of being lost in a major storm and the diking would protect the beach from this and the dredging of the new harbor could provide material for strengthening the beach area. Curry said the diking project was not directly related to the causeway but should be considered if plans to build the causeway materialize. He urged a restudy of the shellfish situation in order to determine what effect the causeway and diking might have on shellfish in the area of Lewis Gut. Curry said the diking project would cost Stratford $800,000 and require approximately $23,000 a year to maintain. Edward OMara, Development Agent of the State Development Commission said that may industries, domestic and foreign were interested in sites with deep water facilities. He said such facilities are practically nonexistent for new plant construction along the eastern coast. OMara said one industry now in Bridgeport and presently seeking such facilities was an employer of more the 1,000 people. A Volkswagen plant might have been constructed in Connecticut except for the lack of a harbor, OMara added. Also urging the Town Council to cooperate with the proposed causeway was Michael Prisloe, assistant director of area development for United Illuminating. Prisloe said they utility firm has a special interest in the industrial growth of the area and through his department had sought to promote it. He said UI had been involved in discussions with three firms which recently purchased property in Stratford, Warner Brothers, U.S.I. Film Products and American Chain and Cable Company. Prisloe recommended the Town design tight controls on construction in order to keep the area beautiful as it develops. Speaking for Fletcher-Thompson, J.E. Claffey, vice-president of the firm, said that the land which the SIC wishes to develop is suitable for construction. He said about 250 acres of the site would require removal of the top six feet of cover and replacement of that cover with more solid material. Some 100 acres would require building on pilings.


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November 26, 1969: SCOFIELD PROPOSES SITE AT LONG BEACH FOR HCC CAMPUS: The Stratford Board of Education learned Monday night that a site at the extreme westerly end of Long Beach, adjoining Pleasure Beach is being considered as a possible location for the permanent campus of Housatonic Community College. Although not on the agenda for the Board meeting, the information was offered by retiring BOE member Richard Scofield during comments he made following a presentation of a certificate of appreciation for his eight years of service on the Board. Scofield had not sought reelection. After acknowledging the presentation, Scofield said that he wanted to make some comments on the community college. He has been chairman of that committee for several years. With this he produced an aerial photo map of the area showing the Lewis Gut Bridge crossing and the specific area to the west of the bridge which he said could be a site for HCCs permanent campus. Housatonic is presently housed in several sites in Stratford including Bunnell High School, the Methodist Church and the Lutheran Church. It is expected that the school will be moving into a central temporary site in the former Singer Building in Bridgeport next year. In making this latest proposal, Scofield said that the area proposed is remote and not effectively utilized. He added that it is property that is jointly owned by Stratford and Bridgeport and could prove to be an area where the communities could work together. He indicated that several of the various structures at Pleasure Beach could be incorporated into the college. He included in this specifically the Polka Dot Playhouse Theater. Henry Fagan chairman of the State Board of Trustees for Community Colleges said that the idea had not as yet come up to them. He indicated that it might be a good one but needed more investigation. Housatonic has been a sore spot in Stratford for a couple of years. Everyone in Town has stated how important it is to the community but the Town has not been able to come up with a site that could prove satisfactory for its permanent location here. The college originated in the Stratford Board of Education who originally conceived it as an extension of our public school system. The state however was at the time beginning development of the community college system and it was changed to that concept. The Town provided the original site (Bunnell and then added Wooster) in the evenings but the college kept growing until it was necessary for it to seek day time sites. They began utilizing the Methodist Church on Main Street in 1968 and this year added the facilities of the Lutheran Church on Chapel Street. There had been several proposals for permanent sites for the college but for various reasons none of them actually went beyond the talking state. One of the chief ideas presented several years ago was Wooster Junior High School and the 60 acres surrounding it. The townspeople objected to giving up a park and the idea was dropped. There have been proposals of sites located on the north end of Nichols Avenue and in Lordship where the Town dump is presently located. What action the Board might take regarding this newest proposal is still open for consideration. The whole matter of the Lewis Gut Bridge has not been totally settled as yet. There are has been opposition from many of the conservation people in Town. The exact status of the bridge is not known since it involves cooperation between Stratford and Bridgeport as to sharing the cost. Adding the college into the matter may bring state involvement and could reduce the cost to the individual communities. No Board of Education action was taken on the matter.

March 25, 1971 - GROUP PROTESTES AUGER PLANS: A group of Lordship residents traveled to Hartford yesterday to protest a proposed plan submitted by the Auger Development Corporation. Under his application which he termed a simple renewal, Walter Auger president of the corporation, had asked permission to construct, install and maintain three pile and timber groins, two measuring 400 feet in length and one measuring 150 feet long, then to dredge and maintain a basin 710 feet by 350 feet to a depth of one to three feet below mean low water removing approximately 19,000 cubic yards of material which will be placed between the two 400 foot groins and below the existing high water line. Augers hope is to extend the beach a total of 150 feet on property which he owns to the east of the entrance to Long Beach. The protest which is being lodged by a group headed by Donald Powers of Sixth Avenue, took the form of verbal and written testimony to John Curry, Director of the Connecticut Water Resources Commission. The protesting group also submitted a file of pictures to support their contentions that a health and safety hazard has been created by previous activities of the Auger Development Corporation. The purpose of the groin according to James Kissane, head of the Town Department of Public Works is to extend out into the Sound and to disrupt the current which flows southerly from the mouth of the Housatonic River. The Town has recently constructed its own groin made out of granite at Long Beach to help prevent erosion of the beach and to extend it farther out into the Sound. Kissane noted that the very strong current will carry sand away from the beach and that a groin is the most feasible way of attempting to rebuild the Lordship beachfront. One of the main points raised by the protesting group is that the groins which Auger wants to construct are not made of granite. Rather they are to be built out of old building material such as pieces of concrete, timber and pipes. Protest leader Powers told the Stratford News. As soon as we are hit by a major storm, it would be very easy for chunks of that material to break off and be washed away into the Sound. When asked about the situation, Auger said the dumping of that material was a mistake. I intend to have a man come in and clean it all out. Auger also noted that the protest group was implicating him for filling in land behind the cottages with old pieces of timber. I do not even own some of that land Auger replied. In a formal letter of protest the people who are all neighbors of Auger made the following points: Activities of the Auger Development Corporation during the past five years have created a public nuisance to adjacent property owners:

  1. Before the passage of the Wetlands Act, marshland immediately adjacent to the area for which the permit is requested was filled with scrap metal, kindling wood, brick, concrete and a variety of other materials. There has not been a major storm or hurricane in this area since this marshland was filled, but neighbors fear that in the event of such storm in the future, the sea will wash over the filled area and flood homes; whereas in the past, this marsh area acted as a sponge absorbing water many times its own area and releasing it slowly. We look out upon this filled area and see what appears to be a dump.
  2. On at least one occasion the applicant used residue from a Bridgeport dump for fill and as a result of complaints from neighbors due to the offensive odor the Town Health Department investigated and the applicant was ordered to cease dumping of such material.
  3. Recently the fill used by the Auger Development Corporation ignited and burned underground intermittently for some four days.
  4. This filling has been going on in dribs and drabs over a period of approximately five years. We have been subjected to the sounds of screeching, clanking machinery. Neighbors have been promised by the applicant repeatedly that this project would be complete in a few weeks, in a few months, very soon, etc and still it goes on.
  5. Very large, uncovered trucks carrying fill have created a nuisance by passing our homes leaving dust and dirt on our property; creating noise and a hazard in a neighborhood where many small children play.
  6. On at least one occasion in a single day some 20 truckloads of sand have been taken from the beach front and used as fill in the basements of homes constructed by the Auger Development Corporation.
  7. The applicant has changed the natural flow of a tidal creek in order to fill land, moving the creek nearer homes and creating a mosquito nuisance. The creek is an attraction to small children insufficiently protected by a light mesh wire fence which is not maintained.

September 17, 1975: LEWIS GUT: J. Fletcher Lewis, Stratfords Harbormaster for the past 25 years is 87 years old now and retired. But his house on the Housatonic has a huge bay window overlooking the river. Not only have Mr. Lewis and his family lived their lives on the river, but it has provided them with a livelihood as well. His father and grandfather were oystermen in the days when the bottom of the Housatonic was encrusted with beds. In those days oystering was hard work for government regulations forbade the use of power to drive boats and haul dredges. The oystermen used sailboats and long tong-like dredges operated by hand to haul in the oysters. When I was young I used to go out with my father on the first couple of days in the fall season. To my small eyes at that time the job seemed so mammoth that I did not want any part of it.” Both his grandfather and father made a living by selling oysters to the shore dinner restaurants which were the rage of the turn of the century. Since the mysteries of freezing were not known in those days, his grandfather used to collect large wooden butter tubs discarded by merchants, sterilize them, pack them with alternate layers of oysters and ice, and ship them as far as possible before they deteriorated. It was a good business and the family made enough to own several boats and to have a wharf on what is now known as Lewis Gut.



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