The Itinerary

The itinerary was not at all complicated.  Norwich was the home port.  At Montville, six miles down on the west bank, the heavy freight from the mills went down by rail or freight boat, but there was always a load of passengers to make the stop worthwhile. The passage from Norwich to Montville was difficult, for the deep water wound in a narrow channel from one side of the river to other, and even with dredging there were times when mud delayed our progress. Below Montville it was better going; there were fewer buoys and dykes, and the course ran almost straight down to New London harbor and the railroad bridge.

Gales Ferry view

View north from the Montville-Gales Ferry area.  Norwich is invisible in the far distance beyond the winding river.  The Yale-Harvard Regatta course was, and still is, to the right, running south toward New London.

This stretch had long been the scene of the annual races between the Yale and Harvard crews, with ample room for innumerable yachts and patrol boats. Stakes marking the race-course remained standing all summer to remind us of the glories of the June regatta. And in the old days there was the Navy Yard (now the Submarine Base) to mark the halfway point between Montville and the old [railroad] bridge.  Gales Ferry had its Yale boathouse; the Harvard crew used Red Top, just above the Navy Yard at Cow Point. Then the [1889] railroad bridge with its nicely balanced draw, and the Groton ferry slips to the east, opposite the docks and slips of New London. 

Editor's Note: The postcard below showing the railroad bridge in the rarely seen "open" position is in the collection of the Henry L. Ferguson Museum, Fishers Island.  All images may be enlarged with a sequence of two clicks.  You must then click back in two steps to return to the narrative.