Michael C. Dooling

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The First Comprehensive History


Charles Island


Charles Island has fascinated many generations of Milford 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 Island is strewn about here and there and the historical landscape is littered with misinformation, speculations and fictions.

In 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:

  • The days of the Sachem Ansantawae

  • Its likely discovery by Adriaen Block in 1614 (including a copy of his original hand-drawn map)

  • The 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

  • The first home built on the island in 1835 by John Harris

  • The large 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) illuminate this period in its history.

  • A 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

  • Its "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

  • Its 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.

The 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 island's 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.

To order an autographed copy, please pay with PayPal to michael@michaelcdooling.com

or send Check or Money Order to:

Michael C. Dooling

P. O. Box 1047

Middlebury, CT  06762




                                                               Pricing Information

                   Connecticut Residents (Taxable)              Out of State (U.S. destination, non-taxable)

Price -                         $18.95                                                 $18.95

6% CT Sales Tax   -        1.14                                                     n/a

Shipping  -                       3.00                                                    3.00

Total -                         $23.09                                                $21.95




Copyright 2011 by Michael Carroll Dooling, Rare Books & Manuscripts, LLC