The historic New London Harbor Light reopened for public tours Wednesday for the first time in years.
“It’s something that New London should be proud of. It’s the oldest and tallest lighthouse on Long Island Sound,” said New London Maritime Society Executive Director Susan Tamulevich.
The New London Maritime Society owns the lighthouse that dates back to 1761, before the nation declared its independence.
It’s one of the first established lighthouses in the United States and was rebuilt in 1801, according to Tamulevich.
Visitors will now be able to take a 119-step journey through the lighthouse on Pequot Avenue.
PHOTOS: A Look Inside a Historic New London Lighthouse
“It’s been a long time to get to this point and when I think about it I could almost cry. I’m so happy we’re giving tours again,” Tamulevich said.
A 2015 cease-and-desist letter from the city because of increased activity at the lighthouse put the tours on hold. The Society also reached a settlement with a neighbor over a property line dispute.
Nicole Thomas and her two daughters, 7-year-old Natalya and 15-year-old Aliyana, got the very first tour.
“We have been listed as one of the first, longest living African American families in New London. But my mother bought a house about 16 years ago. It had a plaque on it and I got off and running from there.”
Thomas is a proclaimed lover of local history. She reached out to Tamulevich after seeing a post online about New London Harbor Light Tours starting up again.
“We have to teach the younger generation what it is to appreciate the things that have always been available to them. And for me, that means a lot because I’ve lived my whole life seeing this lighthouse,” Thomas said.
At the top of the lighthouse guest will get to see a Fresnel lens and Tamulevich said on a clear day, seven or eight other lighthouses.
Tours are now limited to a total of six people between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., Tamulevich said. No more than five tours can be given in a day, or a maximum of 12 tours in a week.
Information on how to tour New London Harbor Light can be found here.