History of Grove Beach
The part of Grove Beach Point now known as the Grove Beach Point Association
was developed by the Jasper Jay Smith Co. This company developed many of
the shoreline communities in our area. Click here to see the circa 1920
sales brochure used to market the GBPA.
The brochure states that there was service
to the Grove Beach Station but makes no mention of the Shore Line Electric
Railway that ran through our Association.
According to the Shore Line Trolley Museum’s Trolley
Towns CT Site, trolley service through Westbrook stopped for a while
during this same period. "Served by the Shore Line Electric Railway
from 1910 to 1919; served by the New Haven & Shore Line from 1923
to 1929." Two way service at the NHRR Grove Beach station stopped
about 1923 and was totally eliminated in late 1926.
Click here for an Aerial Photo of the Grove Beach
Area....If you ZOOM waaay in...to the left of the Menunketesuck river....you can see the remains of the old Shoreline Electric Railway.
The Railway ran in the gully between Mohawk Road and Wangum Road....westward towards Grove Beach Road North, behind Dairy Queen is the Street -Trolley Ave. Eastward over the river, the Railway extended out to what is now Trolley Road and Trolley Road Extension....over behind the firehouse.
According to the history of the Association written by Fran Forde, covering
the period from 1920-1997:
“Before the 1600s , Pequot Indians fished
and tilled the land now called Grove Beach and Grove Beach Point. The
Indians called the Village Pochoug. It’s name meant the confluence
of two rivers flowing out to the sea. In 1840 the village legally became
Westbrook. In the Indian times, Grove Beach Point extended to what is
now known as Menunketesuck Island and the rivers, the Menunketesuck and
the Patchogue emptied into Long island Sound - east of the above Island.
Coastal changes over the years and the flow of the rivers separated the
island from our mainland.”
In 1928 we organized as
the Grove Beach Point Club with a Constitution and By-Laws. The process
of getting a Charter started in 1936, the first step being incorporation
as the GBPA in 1940. After making many changes we became a tax district
under a special act of the Connecticut legislature on May 11, 1945. This
was amended by an act of the Legislature on June 9, 1947 and again on
June 6, 2005. Although we originally owned and maintained our own roads
these were later turned over to the Town, probably as part of the 1947
amendment. There is little information about how the property owners cooperated,
if at all, between the time JJS started developing the area and the Beach
Club was organized.
Additional Historic Dates of Grove Beach Point.
1771 - a small pox hospital was started by two brothers for inoculating residents.
1774 - British raiding party attached and burned down hospital
1891-1898 - East-West breakwater to the west of Duck Island was built as a shelter for passing boats
1911 North-South breakwater built
1920 - Duck Island was bought by a moon shiner to transport liquor to East Coast towns.
1938 - Hurricane erodes 2/3 of Duck Island
Duck Island was owned by several owners until burning down in 1959.
1947 - Grove Beach Point Association founded
1949 - A piece of land on Old Mail trail was purchased for $1,800
1954 - Hurricane Carol devastates cottages on the water front.
1956 - ASACE built jetty and lighthouse after dredging channel for boats.
1983-1984 USACE pumped in sand for beach nourishment. It lasted 10 years.
There are copies of Fran Forde’s history of GBPA and the JJS sales
brochure in the Westbrook Public Library and at the Westbrook Historical