has fascinated many generations of
residents and visitors to the area. Legends
of Captain Kiddís treasure, hearsay of a once thriving resort, and the
remnants of a religious retreat house imbue them with dreams of riches and
a curiosity about the past. Like
the sparse and storm-shattered remains of the structures that once graced
the island, only bits and pieces of its history survive.
Reliable information about Charles
is strewn about here and there and the historical landscape is littered
with misinformation, speculations and fictions.
this work, the author has re-constructed the islandís history
from a wide variety of sources including maps from the 17th to
19th centuries, town records, newspaper accounts &
advertisements, 19th century journals, personal recollections
from visitors to the resort that thrived there, photographs from its days
as a religious retreat, etc. Combined
they offer a unique view of the island and a perspective that until now
has been lost with time.
Periods in the island's history include:
days of the Sachem Ansantawae
likely discovery by Adriaen Block in 1614 (including a copy of his
original hand-drawn map)
origins of the persistent Captain Kidd legend that has a
basis in historical fact - Kidd is known to have visited Milford and
to have buried part of his treasure along Long Island Sound
first home built on the island
in 1835 by John Harris
resort, known as Charles Island House and later as Ansantawae House in the 1850s and 1860s with steamboat service from New Haven
and Bridgeport. Several illustrations from this period
(including advertisements, one of the
steamboats that serviced the island, and the guestbook from 1856)
period in its history.
religious retreat in the 1930s run by the Dominican fathers, a venture
that got off to a sad start when six workmen from the retreat were
drowned when returning from the island
"almost" uses - over
the years, Charles Island was considered for use as a summer home for
a yacht club, an amusement park, a submarine-chaser base during
World War I, a reformatory and a nuclear power plant
use as a backdrop in a surprising number of fictional stories
including two written by one of the owners of the island. Several of
these stories are reprinted in this book - the first time they have
appeared in print in over a hundred years.
history of Charles Island is fascinating and has been, for the most part, forgotten.
An Historical Account of Charles Island brings back to life the rich history of this
past using carefully researched text and nearly four dozen color, sepia and black & white
images of woodcuts, maps, manuscripts, advertisements, portraits and
photographs. This work is carefully documented and contains a
complete list of references.
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Copyright 2011 by Michael Carroll
Dooling, Rare Books & Manuscripts, LLC