Friday Flashback #40

As Westport celebrates the 50th anniversary of the purchase of Cockenoe Island — click here if you missed that recent post, with all that fascinating saved-from-a-nuclear-power-plant history — Bill Whitbeck sends along this fascinating Kodachrome.

Click on or hover over to enlarge.

It was taken in 1971, looking north from Cockenoe Bay toward Saugatuck Shores (in the distance).

Bill says:

The photo shows a typical day on a summer weekend, with many boats enjoying this beautiful island. You can see a group of large tents on the sandbar off to the left, where families would camp for long periods of time.

Unfortunately, most of this sandbar has eroded into just a tiny strip of land, currently only exposed at low tide. You can clearly see how wide the sandbar was 46 years ago.

Sure, the sandbar is gone. But can you imagine what the scene would be like today if — 4 years earlier — many Westport political leaders and citizen activists had not said, clearly and loudly and repeatedly: “Save Cockenoe Now!”

20 responses to “Friday Flashback #40

  1. Peter Barlow

    Did United Illuminating ever build their 14-story nuclear power plant somewhere else? I don’t remember any other island getting destroyed.

  2. I think we should make a tee to celebrate!

  3. Where have all the Lymans gone, long time passing?

    • Peter Barlow

      My son-in-law David Thomas is re-building a Lyman. He and Dorrie also sail a 36-foot ketch named PANTOUF.

  4. Bill Whitbeck

    Lapstrake heaven!

  5. John F. (J-period) Wandres

    I was just wondering: has anyone who’s recently gone ashore at Cockenoe happen to “discover” a case of Schlitz? Or maybe it was Ballantine ale? All I remember now is that the Saturday before the Class of 1953 prom at Longshore, a group of us pulled an all-nighter beer-and-barbecue blast on Cockenoe, and I remember that we put the six-packs (obtained furtively, of course, from that liquor store just over the border in Vista, New York) at water’s edge to keep them cool. Well, at dawn the beer was nowhere to be seen. I’m just wondering, is alls I’m saying.

  6. Jamie Walsh

    Lyman’s are one of the greatest and sturdy boats around. Most remain preserved plying the freshwater lakes in VT, NH, NY and many on the Great Lakes and upper peninsula of Michigan. Saltwater was never kind to this wooden classics.

  7. Jamie Walsh


  8. Bonnie Bradley

    Tony Beckwith and I once went all the way from the yacht basin to City Island, (Rye) NY and back in his Lyman when we were about 15 yrs.old.
    I have no idea why and Tony never said. When we got there we just turned around and came back home. Maybe we bought Cokes from the machine on the dock. – that is, if we had any money with us. We had no line, anchor, life vests, radio, EPIRB, cell phone, drinking water, or sun block (we both got bad sunburns, Tony worse than I since he is very fair-skinned), or anything related to safety on board. And the old Evinrude outboards in use on many Lymans were notoriously unreliable; luckily, not this time. Of course, no parents or anyone else were told or asked for permission, not necessary in the day. The only rule was to be home for dinner; otherwise, you were free as a bird.
    Just lucky I guess.

    • Peter Barlow

      Hi Bonnie – – I have a photograph of you and Tony in that Lyman which I could send to Dan if you approve. It probably qualifies as an aerial view since I climbed up on top of bell-light 24 to take it.

    • Sharon Paulsen

      Enjoyed your anecdote, Bonnie!

  9. Eric Buchroeder SHS '70

    Lyman “Clinker-Built” (whatever that meant).

  10. Bonnie Bradley

    Who knows. “Clinker-Built” probably arose from some 16th century English or American colonial-ism. Maybe Mr. Clinker invented the method. It describes fashioning the hull of a boat with tapering wood boards which overlap each other and are screwed or riveted to each other, like clapboards as siding on a house. That the method produces a very strong hull would be the advantage, I’d guess.

    • Eric Buchroeder SHS '70

      I dunno. I do remember reading it on the boats logo and thinking: “Whatever it is, it must be good.” The power of advertising even to a 6 year old mind!!!!

  11. Bonnie Bradley

    OMG! Peter! Am I wearing my white bathing suit?

    I remember that we went out to big red bell 24, center line of the Sound, or whatever, to shoot photos for some commercial job you had. Remember it for 2 reasons: 1. You said the job was for some energy company, Esso? – in the day – and I always wondered why a then auto gas company would want a photo in a bathing suit in a small boat. 2. You tied your boat to the big buoy (or did you ride out with us in the little boat?) and you were hanging on the buoy like Captain Ahab on the deck in high seas. I thought you’d be in tha water any minute, camera and all. Not!

    Anyway, it wasn’t Tony Beckwith with me in the boat. Tony was much heavier & had white blond hair. It was some kid who hung around the yacht basin, as I remember… no clue to his name. Don’t know exactly whose Lyman it was but could have been Tony’s, borrowed for the occasion.

    Yes, of course you can let Dan have it/use it. LOL I still have the copy you gave me, by the way. Actually was toying with the idea of sending it to Dan myself, and asking your permission, to add a little levity to the summer blog. Great minds with a single thought…..

    Hope all is well with you. Envy you your salt water access but even lacking that I have never (since Smith) been happier in my life than I am now. Come to Dan’s beach party…. it’s really fun. We’ll catch up. xoxo

    • Mary Cookman Schmerker

      Dan’s blog is a treasure for so many reasons. For current residents it keeps them informed and gives a forum for opinions. For those of us who have either unwillingly been transplanted and or find ourselves in a different stage of life it reminds of us good memories and, at least in my case reunites us with friends, like Bonnie.

  12. Sharon Paulsen

    My dad used to take me out to the island in the early 70’s. We’d anchor, and swim, and lunch there.

    His sailboat was a Catalina, I believe. Well, he went through several sailboats back then, so memories are fuzzy on the model types.

    But the experiences of being there are clear, as if it had happened just today, and they are … well, priceless!!

  13. John Gaynor

    Early Lymans were built to be more seaworthy in shallow, choppy water like the sound and some lakes. The design of the hull kept pounding at fast speeds to a minimum and helped to reduce bobbing at slower speeds. There were plenty of Lymans around Westport waters. In fact, Tommy Lynch patrolled Westport waters in a Lyman with a powerful Gray Marine inboard engine. He was one of the first Westport Police Marine Officers.