Walking Tour of Historic New London

Walking Tour of Historic New London

Walking Tour of Historic New London

New London, Connecticut 06320, United States

Created By: Carl Franklin

Tour Information

Welcome to New London, Connecticut! We hope you will enjoy getting to know our little city and some of its history. This area was originally inhabited by the Mohegan and Pequot tribes. In 1645, John Winthrop Jr (son of the then Governor of Massachusetts) began clearing land and non-indigenous families began to settle here. The early settlers were mostly farmers and craftsmen, drawn to the area by its rich soil, plentiful forests, and access to the sea (the Thames River). The harbor quickly became the area’s most valuable natural resource encouraging the development of trading, ship building and whaling. We are now known as “The Whaling City” and our local athletes are the New London Whalers. During the Revolutionary War, New London school teacher Nathan Hale served as a spy for the army and the famous traitor, Benedict Arnold led an attack on New London that resulted in its being burned to the ground. Today, New London is a vibrant and diverse city of about 28,000 people. We have historical sites, art galleries, theaters, restaurants, churches, colleges, a beautiful beach and waterfront, an eclectic music scene, and wonderful locally owned shops. We hope you will take this opportunity to explore the city, partake of our exceptional food and drink, and maybe get a little exercise while you see the sites!

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

When New London was redesigning the Parade Plaza, they thought to enliven the space with a piece of public art. New London is, after all, the Whaling City so the idea to have a fountain in the shape of a whale diving into the plaza pavent w... Read more
After teaching at the schoolhouse in East Haddam, Nathan Hale went on to become the schoolmaster at the Union School in New London, teaching there from 1774 until the Revolutionary War began in 1775. Built in 1773, the gambrel-roof... Read more
The Dutch Taps Into History New London tavern and its precursor, The Oak, one of Eugene O’Neill’s watering holes by Dan Pearson (Originally published in The Day June 20, 1999) New London — In 1912, when Eugene O’Neill was a cub rep... Read more
The Crocker House is a five-story luxury hotel built at 180 State Street in New London in 1872. The project was inspired by A. N. Ramsdell, president of the New London Railroad and the New London City Bank. The hotel was named for Hen... Read more
New London‘s City Hall, on State Street, was originally constructed in 1856 in the Italianate style. This building then had a more residential appearance, in keeping with the houses that lined State Street in the mid-nineteenth century. ... Read more
First Congregational Church of New London is a church with a very long history! New London‘s First Congregational Church was originally formed in 1642 in Gloucester, on Cape Ann in Massachusetts, under the leadership of Rev. Ri... Read more
Frank Munsey, publisher of Munsey’s Magazine, built what was originally called the Munsey Building at 281 State Street in New London in 1896. In an attempt to avoid problems with unions in New York, Munsey housed his magazine publ... Read more
The Garde Theatre is a restored movie palace which opened in 1926. It was one of six new movie palaces being built at the time in Connecticut and Massachusetts by Arthur Friend, a New York movie studio attorney and early partner of Ceci... Read more
The Public Library of New London received its start in 1876, with a bequest from successful New London whaling, sealing and shipping merchant, Henry P. Haven.  Mr. Haven’s $65,000 gift was instrumental in the construction of the original... Read more
New London County Courthouse was built in 1784 on Huntington Street at the head of State Street in New London. It was designed by the Lebanon builder, Isaac Fitch, and at first the building served as both town hall and courthouse. Ori... Read more
The Greek Revival-style Huntington Street Baptist Church in New London was built in 1843 and was originally a Universalist church. It was designed and built by John Bishop, a member of the church, who was inspired the book, The Beauties of ... Read more
St. Mary Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Church in New London began in the 1840s, serving Irish workers from a storefront on Bank Street. Soon, St. John’s parish was formed and a chapel was erected on Jay Street. In 1855 a new church, S... Read more
In 1804, Charles Culver had a low wooden rope walk in which he successfully produced rope for local sailing vessels. After a devastating fire he sold the narrow piece of land to five enterprising citizens as a real estate development. A nar... Read more
The United States Custom House, on Bank Street in New London, was built in 1833 and was designed by Robert Mills, architect of the Washington Monument in Washington, DC. The wood doors are made from planks from the USS Constitution.... Read more
The home of Charles Bulkeley, on Bank Street in New London, was built around 1790 and replaced an earlier home burned during Arnold’s 1781 raid on the city. Bulkeley was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and a sea captain who sailed wi... Read more
The Hygenic Art Gallery was built in 1844 as the home of Captain Giles Harris and had a grocery store on the ground floor. It was built on the site of an earlier house, constructed in the later 1700s, which had been the home of Dr. Samu... Read more
When it was built in 1888, New London’s Union Station made a powerful architectural statement with its strong massing. It was planned to integrate New London transportation, which included service by six railroad companies. Unlike the ... Read more
Located in the heart of downtown New London, the public Waterfront Park Docking and City Moorings offer convenient rest rooms, shower and laundry facilities to registered boaters, as well as ice within easy walking distance. There is also... Read more


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