SHORT BEACH AND HALF MOON COVE 1800s TO 1945

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Short Beach at one time was a community within Lordship. Originally a narrow beach that eventually was filled in and cottages were built upon it. Half Moon Cove extends from Short Beach to Stratford Point. Legend has it that one Minto or Lord Minto lived near Stratford Point, that he owned many slaves and ships and with other merchants across the Housatonic at Milford, trafficked with England and the West Indies, bringing slaves and rum to these shores. "Lord Minto" was an alias and is one of the possible sources for the name Lordship. In fear of seizure legend asserts, they build subterranean passages from the shores of Half Moon Cove to the warehouses. The sandbar separating the Housatonic River from Half Moon Cove was called Minto's Bar in Colonial times and upon which a servant was chained until drowning by the rising tide. Today Short Beach is a popular recreation area with a golf course, tennis and basketball courts, picnic pavilions and other facilites. Short Beach is home to the Independance Day fireworks each year. Approximately 50,000 people pour into Lordship from all directions to enjoy the fireworks. As you will read, Short Beach and Half Moon Cove have had the most interesting history of any section of Lordship.

June 3, 1892 - CONTRACTOR MORTON ARRESTED: W.H. Morton, the wealthy New York contractor who built the Stratford Breakwater, was arrested in New Haven yesterday by Constable Hogg. He is charged with assault with intent to kill. The authorities have been looking for him since December 1890. The breakwater contract was productive of much trouble for Morton. Several arrests of his men were made by United States Marshal Strong for violation of the navigation law. In December 1890, in a store at Stratford Point, Morton had trouble with his men and drew a pistol and fired. He escaped at the time, but the warrant issued for his arrest has been in the hands of the authorities ever since. Morton secured bail and is now at liberty.

May 24, 1922 - WATERLlNES WILL BE LAID TO SHORT BEACH: Residents of Short beach are to have city water laid to their cottages this summer. This will greatly increase the desirability of sites along this beach for summer cottages. The beach at this point is owned by the town and is leased for a small amount annually to persons having summer cottages there. In the past it has been necessary to secure fresh water by catching rain in barrels placed under the eaves of cottages or by making a trip to the Stratford lighthouse, a quarter of a mile distant from the beach. It is planned to lay a water main from Lordship to Short Beach to furnish the beach residents with fresh water.

HALF MOON COVE

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Half Moon Cove

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Half Moon Cove

Bootlegging at Short Beach

March 6, 1923 - PROHIBITION AGENTS SEIZE CHOICE CARGO OF LIQUOR OF RUM-RUNNER IN STRATFORD - One Hundred Cases of Scotch Whiskey Valued at $15,000 Confiscated by Police as It Is Unloaded from Boat at Mouth of Housatonic-Three Are Held: Taking advantage of the exceptionally high perigee tide, Stratford police and federal prohibition enforcement agents were trying early this morning to float the motor boat "Giant," which went aground In front of William B. Tuttle's cottage at Short Beach, just inside the mouth of the Housatonic River, yesterday. One hundred cases of Scotch whiskey valued at $15,000 was piled on the shore preparatory to loading it back upon the boat and taking it up the river as soon as the craft should be floated. While police were making arrangements to float the "Giant" and convey the cargo to Stratford center where it was to be locked up in a cell at police headquarters, Herbert Buck of 1601 Stratford Avenue, who claimed ownership of the craft, was endeavoring to raise a $500 bond. Harold Peterson, also of Stratford Avenue, was also trying to get a bondsman. Vincent Sullivan of No. 60 Barnum Terrace had succeeded in raising $500 and is out on this bond. While two men, Enforcement Agent Edward Flaherty and Stratford Police Officer Fred Donaldson stood guard over the 100 cases of choice liquor seized after the boat had come ashore, other police officers and federal men endeavored last evening to catch a few hours of well earned sleep, preparatory to starting the work of trying to float the boat at three o'clock this morning. Seizure of the cargo of liquor early yesterday morning came as the culmination of weeks of watchful waiting on the part of the prohibition men and the Stratford police. Flaherty, Victor Wardwell, Edward Doolan, and James Holt of Enforcement, Agent James Fowler's force have spent many cold nights secreted in a cottage at Short Beach hoping to catch the rum-runners in the act of bringing their cargo into the river. With them have been officers of Chief William Nichols Stratford police force, Sergeant Ben Smith, Officers David Dinan, P. J. Flanagan, Donaldson, Leonard Holmes, and Edward Manchester, who have taken turns lying in wait along the shore for the arrival of the rum-runners, who were known to be landing liquor near the mouth of the Housatonic. Success crowned the vigil of the enforcement agents and police early yesterday morning when the boat came around the Stratford breakwater and began to buck through ice floes toward the Stratford shore. The police and federal enforcement agents waited until the crew of the boat had unloaded the cargo and stored it in a cottage on the beach owned by William Tuttle, former Stratford druggist and more recently proprietor of Minor's shore house near Washington bridge. While one officer kept watch on the cottage the other officer' silently slipped across the salt meadow dike and made his way to the nearest telephone in a house almost a mile from the place where the whiskey had been landed, summoning reinforcements to surround the cottage. Officer David Dinan of the Stratford Police force and Federal Prohibition Enforcement Agent Victor Wardwell were the two men who were watching the rum-runners at their labors. When they had telephoned to Stratford police headquarters that the rum-runners had arrived at the mouth of the Housatonic, Police Chief William Nichols gathered together his force and notified the prohibition men. In the party which made its way to the Tuttle cottage after a devious passage across the salt meadows to Short Beach were Chief Nichols, Sergeant Ben Smith, Officers Leonard Holmes, Frederick Donaldson. Victor Marcus, Edward Manchester and P. J. Flanagan of the Stratford force and Enforcement Agents Edward Doolan, and James Holt. Dinan and Wardwell pointed out to the new arrivals the cottage in which the cases of liquor had just been stored. The police surrounded the cottage. "Open in the name of the law!" boomed out Chief Nichols. The inmates of the cottage only rushed to barricade the door, refusing to open the cottage to admit the police. The men inside the cottage were armed with shot guns and Colt automatic revolver. The police had sawed-off riot guns and revolvers. Had either side fired a shot, a debacle might have resulted. Instead of firing through the heavy planks of the doorway of the cottage, the police decided to try first to force an entrance into the place. Officer "Jim" Holt's ponderous form lurched against a rear door of the cottage and the door crashed in. When the three rum-runners inside the cottage saw the number of policemen and enforcement agents who were outside the building they surrendered without a fight.

March 7, 1923 - LIQUOR DESTROYED TO MAKE ROOM FOR MORE: In order to make room in the Stratford police station for the $15,000 seizure of choice Scotch liquor confiscated at Short Beach early today, a supply of choice liquor seized by state police and Stratford police officer recently at Hollister Heights was destroyed last night by smashing open the cases and emptying the contents in the Housatonic River. The destruction of the liquor was in charge of State policeman Bernard Scully and other police officers.

March 13, 1923 - MOTORBOAT GIANT HOLD FILLED WITH WATER DUE TO LEAK: Cases Against Alleged Rum-Runners Are Continued for Week. Opening of the seams of the motorboat, "Giant," as the result of pounding on the sand-bar at Short Beach where it was floundered Sunday night is believed to be responsible for the fact that there is now a couple of feet of water in the hold of the boat as she lies at the foot of Broad Street. The boat is on a mud-bar adjoining the Pootatuck Yacht Club anchorage, and can be put in seaworthy condition without great expense if the government places the boat up for auction after the rum running case involving this boat, has been disposed of. Several Stratford watermen will attempt to purchase it. When the cases of Vincent. Sullivan, Herbert Buck and Harold Peterson came up in court today continuances were granted for one week. Prosecuting Attorney Ivan L. Morehouse said that he intended to confer with the State's Attorney, Homer S. Cummings, to decide the best disposition to be made of the cases. There is a three-quarter legal squabble on to decide whether the Town authorities, prohibition enforcement officers or the Customs authorities will take jurisdiction in the case. There is a $15,000 supply of liquor seized by Stratford police and Federal authorities locked up in cells at the police station with a US Government seal at the present time. There is also a libel on the motorboat.

October 6, 1922 - STRATFORD TOWN COUNCIL TO RAISE BEACH PROPERTY LEASES: Believe $900 Now Obtained from This Source Ridiculously Low: Owners of cottages at Long and Short Beaches, who have leased from the town the land upon which their cottages are built, will have to pay more for their leases when they ask for renewals, according to members of the council, who express themselves as opposed to again leasing the land at the shore at the present low rental. For years past it has been possible for five or ten dollars a year to rent from the town a plot of ground on the water front large enough to build a cottage on. The total annual revenue from all the shore leases, including the ones along the Housatonic River mouth at Short beach, and the ones at Long Beach, near Lordship, is only $900. "This sum of $900 is a ridiculously small amount to be receiving for beach rentals," states Donald Sammis, chairman of the town council. "I believe I can speak for the entire council when I say that the town should increase the rental figure for these shore lots. If we raise the rental when the new leases are granted we should be able to receive enough revenue from the beach property to pay for the building of jetties and breakwaters which would stop the erosion which is now in progress along the shore front. To save the beaches we must have improvements. To pay for these improvements we should increase the rental figure for the shore lots." In the past, these beach rentals have been handled by the real estate firm of Wood and Yarborough. The town has taken over the matter now and future rentals and leases will be handled through the town manager's office.

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Short Beach 1925 Plan

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Short Beach 1925 Plan

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Short Beach 1925 map

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Short Beach 1925 map

February 27, 1925 - PROPOSES SHORE ROAD FROM DEVON TO PLEASURE BEACH: Councilman Donald Sammis of Stratford Says Boulevard Skirting River and Sound Would Cost Comparatively Little: Council Chairman Donald Sammis, discussing today the future development of Stratford, pointed out that the town could at comparatively small expense establish one of the most beautiful seashore drives in the state by connecting up existing links of highway along the river and beach front. By following out the plan first proposed by Council Chairman Sammis at last night's hearing on the Short Beach land exchange proposition, the town would have a drive beginning at Washington bridge and continuing south along the banks of the Housatonic River to Lordship, around through Lordship and along the peninsula (Long Beach) to Pleasure Beach, Bridgeport, and to out onto Seaview Avenue. For nearly the entire distance from Washington Bridge to Seaview Avenue, Bridgeport this drive would skirt the waterfront. There are already constructed roads along a great part of the distance and no great engineering feat would be involved in connecting up these sections of road so as to make one complete boulevard. Construction of a culvert or small bridge near the old "duck farm" property and the building of a road along the level stretch of shore land between the old road near the Housatonic yacht club and the town sewage disposal plant and so around the curve of the shore town line to Sniffen's Point, to connect up with the road back of Short Beach, would be the chief connecting link that would have to be made. There is already a shore front road from the vicinity of Washington bridge, down Housatonic Avenue to Broad Street and Lockwood Street, to Stratford Avenue and thence around at the back of the beach property near the river. Another connecting link would have to be a road from the bathing pavilion at Lordship to the bathing pavilion at Pleasure Beach.

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November 8, 1927 - SHORT BEACH MAN CLAIMS INTEREST IN AIRPORT CUT SITE: Will Contest Right Company to Dig Channel. Counsel has been retained by A. M Nearing of Short Beach to safeguard his interests in the title which he claims to the 250-foot stretch of beach front through which the Stratford Town Council recently gave permission to the Bridgeport Airport, Inc to dig a channel giving access for seaplanes to the new airport on the Lordship meadows. Judge Frank Wilder of Bridgeport is the attorney engaged by Mr. Nearing to represent him. Judge Wilder on Sunday afternoon visited the site of the proposed airport, and held a lengthy conference with Attorney W. Parker Seeley, one of the directors of the airport corporation: Colonel Rex DeLacour, president of the corporation, and other interested parties. While taking the position that the strip of beach front in question is town property and is not included in the Nearing holdings at the beach, the representatives of the airport corporation made it clear that they will not deprive Mr. Nearing of access to his home, which stands on the beach at a point some distance north of the place where it is proposed to cut through the beach in constructing the seaplane basin. The contractors plan to build a road along the north side of the canal, extending from the beach to South Main Street. Representatives of the airport corporation have searched the titles to the property at this point and have found no records on file which would support Nearings claim to title in the 350-Ioot stretch of beach front through which it is planned to cut the seaplane canal. The airport project is expected to enhance the value of property in the vicinity. An Indication of what is taking place as a result of the plans to establish an airport here may be obtained from a statement by L E. Nunnold, real estate operator at Lordship who reported that on the day following publication of the news that an airport was to be established at Lordship, six persons who had given him their places at Lordship Manor to sell, called him up and told him they had decided not to sell at the present time. Dykes are being constructed on the main flying field preparatory to beginning the pumping operations. A considerable force of men is already at work there. Due to the fact that the owners of the large sand-sucking pump which is to do the major portion of the work at the airport, accepted another job at New Haven when It appeared that there would be some delay in getting the work started at Lordship, it will probably be a week or two before the big dredger arrives here to begin operations on the seaplane canal. In the meantime it is hoped to iron out all legal difficulties in connection with the Nearing claim.

The Battle for Short Beach