Old Lyme is a coastal town in New London County, Connecticut, United States. The main street of the town, Lyme Street, is a historic district with several homes once owned by sea captains. Lyme Academy of Fine Arts is located in Old Lyme and there is a thriving art community in the town. There are several seasonal beach communities in Old Lyme (Point O Woods, Hawks Nest, Miami Beach). The town is named after Lyme Regis, England.
Old Lyme, Connecticut
|Metropolitan area||New London|
|• Type||Selectman-town meeting|
|• First selectman||Timothy Griswold (R)|
|• Selectman||Chris Kerr (R)|
|• Selectwoman||Mary Jo Nosal (D)|
|• Total||28.8 sq mi (74.6 km2)|
|• Land||23.1 sq mi (59.8 km2)|
|• Water||5.7 sq mi (14.8 km2)|
|Elevation||20 ft (6 m)|
|• Density||260/sq mi (100/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (Eastern)|
|GNIS feature ID||0213483|
The Florence Griswold Museum is located in Old Lyme, as is the Lyme Art Association. The neighboring town of Lyme is the namesake for Lyme disease.
Background and historyEdit
Old Lyme is a community of about 7,600 permanent residents, in addition to several thousand seasonal vacationers who occupy a seaside community of summer residences. It is located on the east bank of the Connecticut River at its confluence with the Long Island Sound, across the river from Old Saybrook on the west bank. Numerous examples of Colonial and Federal architecture can be found throughout the town.
The town of Lyme was set off from Saybrook (now known as Deep River), which is on the west bank of the river mouth, on February 13, 1665. South Lyme was later incorporated from Lyme in 1855, then renamed Old Lyme in 1857 because it contains the oldest-settled portion of the "Lymes". Old Lyme occupies about 27 square miles (70 km2) of shoreline, tidal marsh, inland wetlands and forested hills. Its neighbor to the north is the town of Lyme, and to the east is East Lyme. Other placenames from the same root are Hadlyme (between Lyme and East Haddam) and South Lyme (a beach resort area of Old Lyme). The placename "Lyme" derives from Lyme Regis, a small port on the coast of Dorset, England, from which it is believed the early settlers migrated in the 17th century. The picturesque Old Lyme Cemetery contains the graves of the original settlers. The Duck River flows through the cemetery and into the Connecticut River at Watch Rock Park.
Old Lyme Art ColonyEdit
The Florence Griswold House in Old Lyme housed an art colony for many years in the early 20th century to many prominent American Impressionist painters. The Lyme Art Colony included Childe Hassam, Edward Charles Volkert, Willard Metcalf, Wilson Irvine, and Henry Ward Ranger, among many others. These artists made Old Lyme a thriving art community, which still continues today.
The Griswold House was transformed into an art museum, the Florence Griswold Museum, or affectionately called "Flo Gris", by residents of Old Lyme. Many American Impressionist paintings of the era are of subjects in and around the Griswold House and are featured in the museum, along with many other works and personal possessions of the artists who frequented there. The building of the Old Lyme Congregational Church is known for the many paintings that have been made of it, most notably by Childe Hassam.
On the National Register of Historic PlacesEdit
- Bennett Rockshelter (added July 31, 1987)
- Florence Griswold House and Museum – 96 Lyme St. (added May 19, 1993)
- Lieutenant River III Site (added August 31, 1987)
- Lieutenant River IV Site (added August 31, 1987)
- Lieutenant River No. 2 (added August 31, 1987)
- Natcon Site (added August 31, 1987)
- Old Lyme Historic District – Lyme Street from Shore Road to Sill Lane, Old Boston Post Road from Sill Lane to Rose Lane (added November 14, 1971)
- Peck Tavern – 1 Sill Lane (added May 12, 1982)
- Springbank – 69 Neck Road (added September 17, 2001)
- Jim Calhoun (born 1942), head coach of the University of Connecticut's men's basketball team, which won three national championships, and who was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005; began his career as a coach in town at Lyme-Old Lyme High School
- Herb Chambers (born 1941), billionaire owner and President of Herb Chambers Companies auto dealerships
- Elisabeth Gordon Chandler (1913–2006), sculptor, resident, and founder of the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts
- Lois Darling (1917–1989), artist and illustrator
- Albert Einstein, who had a summer home on the Old Lyme shore
- Chris Elliott (born 1960), actor and screenwriter, known best for his supporting role in the 1998 comedy There's Something About Mary
- Walker Evans, photographer; lived nearby in Lyme until his death in 1975
- Elsie Ferguson (1883–1961), actress
- Ella T. Grasso (1919–1981), first female governor of Connecticut, first woman to be elected governor in the United States who was not the wife or widow of a governor, awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1993
- Childe Hassam (1859–1935), American Impressionist, stayed in the Florence Griswold House as part of the Old Lyme Art Colony
- Wilson Irvine (1869–1936), American Impressionist, stayed in the Florence Griswold House as part of the Old Lyme Art Colony
- Peter Karter (1922–2010), founder of early recycling company
- Susanne Katherina Langer (1895–1985), philosopher, writer, and educator, one of the first female academic philosophers
- Ezra Lee (1749–1821), American colonial soldier known for commanding the Turtle submarine, is buried in Duck River Cemetery in Old Lyme
- Willard Metcalf (1858–1925), American Impressionist, stayed in the Florence Griswold House as part of the Old Lyme Art Colony
- Diana Muir, writer and historian
- Roger Tory Peterson (1908–1996), naturalist, ornithologist, artist, and educator
- Henry Ward Ranger (1858–1916), American Impressionist, stayed in the Florence Griswold House as part of the Old Lyme Art Colony
- Luanne Rice (born 1955), novelist
- Edwin J. Roland (1905–1985), Coast Guard admiral
- Elizabeth Tashjian (1912–2007), artist and founder of the Nut Museum in Old Lyme
- Edward Charles Volkert (1871–1935), American Impressionist, stayed in the Florence Griswold House as part of the Old Lyme Art Colony
- Clark Voorhees (1871–1933), American Impressionist, stayed in the Florence Griswold House as part of the Old Lyme Art Colony
- Morrison Waite (1816–1888), Chief Justice of the United States appointed by Ulysses S. Grant, was born and lived in Old Lyme until leaving for college at Yale
- Ellen Axson Wilson (1860–1914), first wife of president Woodrow Wilson, came as an art student to the Florence Griswold House
Geography and ClimateEdit
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 28.8 square miles (75 km2), of which 23.1 square miles (60 km2) is land and 5.7 square miles (15 km2), or 19.85%, is water. The southern section of Old Lyme has a mostly flat topography, intersected with tidal marsh and swamp, while the northern sections of the town have a rocky and hilly terrain. Old Lyme lies in the Köppen climate classification zone known mild temperate climate. The summer months have highs in the 80's F (in the 90's F on occasion) and the winter months have highs in the upper 30's to low 40's F. The average annual precipitation is about 40 inches.
Principal communitiesEdit
- Black Hall
- Lyme Station
- Old Lyme Center
- Sound View
- South Lyme
- Edge Lea
- Hatchetts Point
- Point O'Woods
Other minor communities and geographic features in the town are Between the Rivers, Black Hall Pond, Brighton Beach, Ferry Road, Flat Rock Hill, Four Mile River, Griswold Point, Hall's Corners, Hawk's Nest Beach, Homestead Circle, Johnnycake Hill, Miami Beach, Mile Creek, Neck Road, Old Colony Beach, Old Lyme Estates, Old Lyme Shores, Rogers Lake, Sill Lane, Smith's Neck, Tantummaheag, Tuttles Sandy Beach, Whippoorwill, and White Sands Beach.
Rogers Lake is located in the towns of Old Lyme and Lyme and is formed by a dam along Town Woods Road in Old Lyme. The lake's surface area is 265 acres (1.07 km2). Mill Brook, Grassy Hill Brook and Broad Swamp Brook feed into the lake. The lake's watershed is 4,833 acres (19.56 km2) of woodland. The outlet below the dam is Mill Brook, which is a tributary of the Lieutenant River, a tributary of the Connecticut River.
There are five small islands on Rogers Lake, the largest of which has a small cottage built on it.
A street that runs along the north side of Rogers Lake is called Blood Street; it has lent its name to the town's rowing team, the Blood Street Sculls. Rogers Lake is also bordered by Grassy Hill Road and Town Woods Road. There is also a small lakeside neighborhood off of Rogers Lake Trail.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2010, there were 7,603 people, 2,958 households, and 2,153 families residing in the town. The population density was 320.6 inhabitants per square mile (123.8/km2). There were 4,570 housing units at an average density of 197.8 per square mile (76.4/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.37% White, 0.26% African American, 0.28% Native American, 1.16% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.32% from other races, and 0.59% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.95% of the population.
There were 2,958 households, out of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.2% were married couples living together, 7.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.2% were non-families. 22.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 2.93.
In the town, the population was spread out, with 24.0% under the age of 18, 3.6% from 18 to 24, 26.4% from 25 to 44, 29.2% from 45 to 64, and 16.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.6 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $68,386, and the median income for a family was $75,779. Males had a median income of $52,110 versus $39,158 for females. The per capita income for the town was $41,386. About 2.2% of families and 3.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.9% of those under age 18 and 1.8% of those age 65 or over.
|Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 25, 2005|
|Party||Active Voters||Inactive Voters||Total Voters||Percentage|
First Selectman and Board of SelectmenEdit
- First Selectman; Tim Griswold; Republican
- Selectman; Matt Ward, Republican
- Selectwoman; Martha Shoemaker, Democrat
From the towns of Old Lyme and Lyme, 1,450 children were enrolled in the five schools of Regional District 18 at the start of the 2011–2012 academic year. The students are enrolled based on age and location. Lyme Consolidated School is for grades Pre-K through 5, Mile Creek School is for grades K through 5, Center School is for Pre-K the rest of the building is being used for office space, Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School is for grades 6 through 8, and Lyme-Old Lyme High School is for grades 9 through 12. Regional School District 18 has a 13:1 student to faculty ratio, and spent $17,454 per pupil in the 2007–2008 school year. The district's girls' soccer and boys' basketball teams won the Shoreline Conference Championship during the 2010–2011 school year.
Old Lyme also has a number of students who travel to private schools, including nearby parochial schools such as Xavier High School, Mercy High School, and Saint Bernard School, and some students who go to college preparatory schools such as The Williams School in New London.
Founded in 1976 by Elisabeth Gordon Chandler as a figurative art academy for the teaching of sculpture, drawing, illustration and painting, the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in the disciplines of painting and sculpture. The college also offers a post-baccalaureate and a three-year certificate program. It is known for its focus on teaching techniques and the history and tradition of representational art, centered on the study of nature and the figure. According to The New York Times, "many in the art world believe [Lyme Academy] has contributed to a renaissance of representational art."
The Estuary Transit District provides public transportation throughout Old Lyme and the surrounding towns through its 9 Town Transit Service. Services include connections to the Old Saybrook Train Station, served by Amtrak and Shore Line East railroads, as well as the New London Transportation Center, served by train and ferry service.
- "Census - Geography Profile: Old Lyme town, New London County, Connecticut". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 18, 2021.
- Burton, K. Old Lyme, Lyme, and Hadlyme. Arcadia Publishing,Charleston, SC, 2003 pp. 7-8.
- Caulkins, F.M. History of New London, Connecticut. From the first survey of the coast in 1612, to 1852. H.D. Utley, New London, 1895. 696 pp.
- Lois Darling, 72, Dies; An Artist and a Writer, New York Times, 21 December 1970, accessed May 2010
- "Sailing the Connecticut Coast with Albert Einstein". 21 March 2013.
- Walker Evans: Photographer of America, Thomas Nau, Macmillan, 2007, p. 59
- "City & Town Population totals 2010-2020". Census.gov. Retrieved September 14, 2021.
- "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 25, 2005" (PDF). Connecticut Secretary of State. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-01-26. Retrieved 2007-02-21.
- "First Selectman & Board of Selectmen". www.oldlyme-ct.gov. Archived from the original on 2005-02-14.
- Libby, Sam (1996-02-11). "The View From: Old Lyme; An Academy With a Tradition of Art That's Understandable". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2018-03-03. Retrieved 2018-03-03.