Archives 2019

Nov. 3 - Oysters coming to Groton Bank - Lauren Gauthier, project manager for Norm Bloom & Son, LLC, will provide a history of oystering in the area and talk about the company's plans to bring oysters to the Groton Bank at the property they acquired in 2018 at 107 Thames Street across from the Mother Bailey House

April 8 - Groton Bank at the Click of an App! Amy Perry, Executive Director of the Thames River Heritage Park will present an overview of the Groton Bank audio tours on the IZI app and describe the new developments for the Heritage Park's Water Taxi. Two all-day passes for the Water Taxi will be given away as door prizes.

Jan. 28 - Arctic Whaling and the Groton Bank - Fred Calabretta, Director of Collections Management and senior curator at the Mystic Seaport Museum will speak about Arctic whaling in the 1800s and the role of the whaling captains who resided in the Groton Bank area of Groton. These captains and others who sailed out of New London spearheaded Arctic whaling and were regarded as authorities on the subject.

Archives 2018

Nov. 5 - Growing up in the Groton Bank -Six panelists who grew up in the Groton Bank from 1920 to 1950 will talk about life in those decades

Apr. 23 - Morton Plant Gail Braccidiferro MacDonald, Associate Professor of Journalism at UConn, author of Morton F. Plant and the Connecticut Shoreline, will talk about the famous summer resident and his local legacy.

Jan.21 The Mother Bailey House

Susan Archer, President of the Friends of the Mother Bailey House will talk about plans and objectives for the house

Archives 2017

Nov. 28 -- Ghosts of Groton Bank - Speakers: Hali Keeler, Leslie Evans and David Rose discuss their book, "Ghosts of Groton Bank"

April 24 - Thames River Water Taxi -Amy Perry, Interim Director of the Thames  River Heritage Park, will speak about the park and the water  taxi servicing both sides of the Thames River

Jan. 8  Ghosts of Groton Bank. (Cancelled)

Rescheduled to Monday, November 13, 2017 at 7:00 pm 

"Ghosts of Groton Bank"Hali Keeler with Leslie Evans and David Rose will talk about spiritually active events described in their book "Ghosts of Groton Bank".  All three are residents of Groton Bank and have a strong interest in the history of our historic village.  Hali is former Director of the Bill Memorial Library and now Adjunct Professor at Three Rivers Community College.  Leslie is Director of the Avery-Copp House Museum and David is former president of the Friends of Fort Griswold.

Archives 2016

Dec. 10 -Friends of Fort Griswold Open House - Including the Groton Monument, Monument House Museum and Ebenezer Avery House. Talks about the fort at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm, coupled with beverage, sweets and marshmallow roast over a bonfire.

Oct. 29 The Fight to Set a People Free - Kevin Johnson, of the Connecticut State Library's History and Genealogy Unit, portrays Jordan Freeman, the body servant of  Col. William Ledyard, who commanded the patriots at Fort Griswold in the Revolutionary War battle on Sept. 6, 1781.  Freeman was a black soldier-defender of the fort and Johnson's presentation is a lively re-enactment  of that experience--a delightful story for children and adults.

Apr. 25  Groton's  Mighty Steamships - The Minnesota and the Dakota - Jim Streeter, Groton Town Historian, will give a PowerPoint presentation providing some historical background about the construction and  operation the cargo steamships "Minnesota" and "Dakota".  These ships were built in the early 1900s by the Eastern Shipbuilding Company which was located on the Groton Bank site where the  northern portion of Electric Boat Corporation is presently located.  When built these ships were considered the largest cargo vessels in the world.

Note: This is one of the several highlight of three centuries of shipbuilding on the Groton Bank of the Thames where many national an international records were set beginning with Jefferies "Great Ship" launched in 1725, then the largest shipbuild in Colonial American; Many wooden ships in the 1800s; the mighty freighter laughed in the 1903 and 1904; followed by the submarines, e.g. the first nuclear submarine "Nautilus launched in 1954.

This is also the annual meeting at which officers will be elected. 

Jan. 31 - Fort Griswold Update - Henry Alves, Connecticut State Parks and Recreation Supervisor, who is now in charge of Fort Griswold, will share his ideas about that fort. 

Archives 2015

Nov. 9 - Buttons a Fashionable History Presentation in partnership with the Avery-Copp Museum.

Button experts George and Gretchen Gauthier will present an illustrated program on the history and art of antique buttons, how styles and materials evolved in response to changes in fashion and technology.  Grand old buttons were in fashion from the 18th century to World War II.  Their talk will incorporate stories of the battle of Fort Griswold and families of the  Avery-Copp House and other local families.  The Gauthiers have classified and built a collection of 30,000 to 40,000 buttons, some of which will be on display.

April 27 - Thames Street Then and Now

Jim Streeter, Groton Town Historian, will give a slide presentation on Thames Street changes. Until the mid-1900s Thames Street was the commercial hub of Groton.  Jim's presentation includes numerous old photos from his extensive personal collection. Jan. 25 - LongIsland Sound Lighthouses - Susan Tamulevich, director of the New London Maritime Society and Custom House Museum will speak about lighthouses which for more than an century have led mariners into our harbor--New London Light, Thames Ledge Light and Race Rock Light.   Long Island Sound is unique due to the large number of lighthouses lining its shore and New London Harbor has  three important ones mentioned above.  They are now owned by the New London Maritime Society and Susan will tell us what the Society is doing with them. 

Archives 2014

Nov. 10 - Fall Meeting. -Potluck Dinner at 6:15 pm at the Groton Congregational Church. Meet your neighbors, tell us about your experiences in Groton Bank.  Please bring a dish or dessert to share.

Oct. 18 - Nosh and Stroll -Groton Bank Historical Association members are assisting the Groton Education Foundation in a Nosh and Stroll evening of fun and food at several Groton Bank houses along Monument Street and near Fort Griswold.  Stroll is from 5 to 7 pm starting at the Bill Memorial Library and includes the homes of Archie and Liz Swindell, Tom Althuis, Sue and David Bailey, Bruce and Gina Fafard, Margret Roberston, and Bruce Shipman, ending with refreshments at the Groton Congregational Church.  For invitations and tickets to benefit the Groton Education Foundation please call 860-445-0748

June 14 - Walking Tour of Groton Bank -The City of Groton's Summer in the City program in conjunction with Connecticut Open House Day will feature a  walking tour of the village of Groton Bank and a number of its historic buildings will be open to the public.  An approximately hour-long walking tour led by GBHA president Tom Althuis will start at 10 AM at  the Groton Monument, go through Fort Griswold (site of the 1781 Revolutionary War battle and Connecticut's major defense in the War of 1812), past the Enz. Ebenezer Avery House in the Fort, and point out a variety of architectural styles and notable historical events that occurred along Thames, Broad and Monument Streets. Buildings along the tour and open to the public free of charge from 11:00 to 3:00 pm and will be manned by their respective organizations: 

  • Groton Monument (1830) and Monument House Museum
  • Fort Griswold (1775) and Enz. Ebenezer Avery House (c. 1750)
  • Avery-Copp Museum (early 1800s) 
  • Mother Bailey House (Dr. Amos Prentice house of 1782)
  • Groton Congregational Church (1901)
  • Bill Memorial Library and Museum (1890)

            Light refreshments will be available at some of the sites.

Apr. 14 - Jordan Freeman, the Fight to Set a People Free Kevin Johnson, of the CT State Library's History and Genealogical Unit, will portray "Jordan Freeman  Freeman was the body servant of Col. Ledyard, commander of Fort Griswold during the American Revolution and Benedict Arnold's assult that occurred there on September 6, 1781.  Freeman was  one of the two black defenders of the Fort in that battle.

Jan. 27 - Civil War Veteran - Robert A. Gray Jim Streeter, Groton Town historian and GBHA member, will speak about Civil War Veteran Robert A. Gray, a resident of Groton Bank and the only person from Groton to win the Medal of Honor.  

Archives 2013 - 

Nov. 11 - Everything You Wanted to now About Groton Bank Part II -This meeting will focus on the history of churches on Groton Bank and organizations associated with Fort Griswold.  Speakers Barbara Frucht, Lorraine Chappell, Janet Purinton and Cathy Jonson will  share  the history of the Groton Heights Baptist Church (originally the Groton Bank Baptist Church, the Groton Congregational Church,  the Anna Warner Bailey Chapter of the DAR and the Avery Family Association

Apr. 28 - Groton Bank and the War of 1812

Speaker: Tom Althuis, president of GBHA.  The Thames Harbor with New London on the west and Groton Bank on the east was clearly Connecticut's major arena of continuous activity in the War of 1812.  On June 1, 1813 the British fleet chased Commodore Stephen Decatur and his 3 ship squadron (the "United States", the "Macedonian" and the "Hornet," comprising 1/5th or more of the US Navy) in to the river and blockaded them there for the remainder of the war.   British war ships maneuvering  in eastern Long Island Sound off the mouth of the Thames River first produced panic and then continued fears among local residents that an attack was eminent.  For the next 20 months the blocade of this port became a British center of activity and had a severe economic effect essentially curtailing trade not only in the harbor but Long Island Sound as well.  Constant fear of an attack led to continued improvements in coastal defense. At Groton Bank, Fort Griswold, 150 feet above sea level, with a battery 75 feet above the river, was the most significant defense for the harbor and the state.  Decatur helped to reinforce it in the early days of June 1813 as did troop regiments and improvements continued through the year.  The smaller Fort Trumbull at water level in New London was the district's military headquarters.  But most of the militia, at times approaching two thousand men, were stationed on the Groton side of the river.  The strong force at, and the strategic location of Fort Griswold coupled with Fort Trumbull less than a mile across the river probably discouraged the British from attacking this harbor as they did Sept. 6, 1781 during the Revolutionary  War.  After all, any cannon shot coming from either of the Forts could strike an enemy ship anywhere in the entrance of the river.  What happened here is a largely ignored story of successful harbor defense.  Nevertheless in late 1813 through 1814, constant harassment by the British ships resulted in skirmishes, capture of some American ships, a number of raids and some small battles elsewhere along the Connecticut coast.