Today is Thursday, June 4, 2020 – The Water Taxi is not running.  

Fort TRumbull

Fort Trumbull Looking for Volunteers for Civil War Trust Park Day

“On Saturday, April 2, 2016, history buffs and preservationists from around the country will team up with the Civil War Trust to help clean and restore America’s priceless battlefields, cemeteries and shrines. Park Day is the nationwide volunteer effort created by the Civil War Trust, underwritten with a grant from History™ and endorsed by Take Pride in America, a division of the U.S. Department of the Interior.” –The Hartford Courant

In New London, Fort Trumbull State Park and the Friends of Fort Trumbull will also be participating, and are hoping for lots of volunteers. Needs include cleanup, painting and minor repairs inside the fort and its grounds. For more information about Park Day at Fort Trumbull State Park, please contact Irving Moy by e-mail at

WHEN:  April 2, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

WHERE:  Fort Trumbull State Park, Visitors Center, 90 Walbach Street, New London, Connecticut



When is a park . . . more than a park? When it’s a Heritage Park

The Communications and Programming Committee had a most productive meeting at Fort Trumbull Thursday. Chair Penny Parsekian had occasion to return to the Fort in the evening and took this great photo.

Fort Trumbull, on the Thames River, at night

This really is a remarkable structure and we urge everyone to visit it, as well as its comprehensive Visitors Center and museum.

Anyway, as you might guess, lots of the meeting centered around our new acquisition of 2 Navy surplus utility boats (yay!) which will arrive at Crocker’s boatyard in New London the week of November 30th. Water Taxi Subcommittee Chair Marian Galbraith will be planning a press event for the occasion, so stay tuned for details.

Now that the boats are no longer merely figments of our fevered brains, the Committee set to work to draft a water taxi marketing budget, along with the marketing plan specific to the water taxi. As our DEEP Liaison and Director of State Parks Tom Tyler reminded the group, this is the first State of Connecticut Heritage Park, and as such it is more than the sum of its parts.

Communications Committee members from L to R: Tom Tyler, Emily Ross Feltes, Chris Cox, Penny Parsekian, and Deborah Donovan. Alan Levere of DEEP took the photo and is a resource for the committee.

So one of the next tasks on the Communications Committee’s agenda is the development of a Map and Guide for the park, to introduce the idea of the Heritage Park and list all the reasons (well, maybe not all, since there are hundreds) why people should visit it. Andrei Harwell, who designed the Yale Urban Design Workshop report and the THRP logo, has agreed to design this new publication as well. Transition Team Chair Chris Cox will be arranging for the Committee to meet with master map maker and way-finding designer Dennis O’Brien, to acquaint him with our project and share ideas.


The Committee has also continued its outreach to potential partners and supporters, having met with the Connecticut Explored Magazine staff as well as representatives from the Community Foundation. We are hoping and anticipating that when 501 c 3 status is approved and the non-profit Thames River Heritage Park Foundation is finally a reality, the non-profit will have a great foundation of information and partnerships on which to build. It won’t be long now!

Forts Trumbull and Griswold are highlighted in the news this week

Forts on both sides of the river got a lot of press this week, and with good reason. Thursday’s “Night and Day” section of the New London Day announced the annual commemoration of the Battle of Fort Griswold (September 6, 1781) that will be held  at the Ebenezer Avery House, located on the lower part of the fort on Fort Street. Reenactors will be battling it out this Sunday (September 6th of course), the British side featuring—of course—Norwich native Benedict Arnold. The following week the Avery-Copp House on Thames Street will host Groton History Day, and will feature a soldiers’ encampment, a musket firing demonstration, activities and artisan crafts. Both events are free.


But as former submariner Phil Houk reminds us in his “History Around the Corner” article in the Mystic Times, there’s “lots to learn at Fort Trumbull State Park and Museum.” Extolling the virtues of both the site and the exhibit space, Mr Houk writes that “the stone fort has been used over its 225-year history for striking at British invaders and for storage while the site housed a modern research and development center for anti-submarine warfare. It its current form of restoration it should be visited by young and old and its story told.” A state-issued Charter Oak pass (for residents age 65 and older), as well as museum and state park passes obtained from local libraries, allow you to visit sites like Fort Trumbull free of charge; otherwise the admission is $10.

Ft trumbull aerial

So even though you won’t be able to get there on a water taxi (yet!) why not plan to spend the weekend soaking up history at two incredible forts just minutes away from each other?

The TRHP Communications Sub-Committee Visits Fort Trumbull

Ft trumbull aerialWhen the Communications sub-committee met at the Fort Trumbull Visitors’ Center in New London, members were so impressed that they suggested it as one of the possible venues for a TRHP informational presentation for key supporters this fall or next spring. Indeed, anyone living in the are who hasn’t visited the fort really owes it to themselves to see the amazing structures, state-of-the-art museum, and vista of the Thames River that make up one of the TRHC’s main attractions.

The Friends of Fort Trumbull has a great website with lots of photos and information on the history of the fort and upcoming events. Also make sure to visit DEEP’s official Fort Trumbull website. But after you’ve done that, by all means go over to the park itself (Walbach Street off Howard Street) and make a day of it.

FT TRumbullJoining the sub-committee at the Visitors’ center were Al Levere, State Parks Historian and author of the about-to-be-published State Parks Centennial History, Diane Joy, Supervisor of State Parks, Outreach and Education, and Bruce MacDonald, Director of the Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival, coming up soon (September 9-12) so mark your calendars.

Aug. 6 meetingThe TRHP Communications sub-committee and guests, from left: Deborah Donovan, Ellen Cummings, Tom Tyler, Al Levere, Diane Joy, Penny Newbury, Chris Cox, Laura Nadelberg, and a bit of Bruce MacDonald. Not pictured: Penny Parsekian, Chair (taking the photo).

As with the Finance sub-committee, the Communications committee agreed to take its marching orders from the Governance and Organizational sub-committee, who will be meting shortly to draft a mission and vision for the new agency, as well as a short-and longer term strategic plan. However, this didn’t seem to slow the Committee down; a preliminary marketing plan draft was shared with other members, who agreed to combine it with some additional marketing documents and build upon it once the Governance Committee had met.

The Committee also appointed Chris Cox as the Team’s spokesman, with Penny Parsekian as backup, for answering queries from the public and media outlets.

An important discussion point at the meeting was the need to identify, prioritize and target all potential stakeholders in the heritage park plan, in order to make sure that everyone understands the purpose of the park and its inclusionary nature, the goals of the Transition Team, and the importance of the THRP to the unification and connection of all the sites. As the Chair so succinctly put it, “We’re trying to make a visitor experience coherent.”   So the first group from which to elicit continued support will be representatives, employees and volunteers from the heritage sites themselves. The second group would be community leaders and funders, followed by the business community in and around the park (whose initial core encompasses Fort Trumbull, Fort Griswold, and the New London Downtown area, to be followed by the Nautilus Museum). Then, agreed the Committee, we would have a great support base from which to begin to conduct outreach to potential visitors.