Friday, April 22, 2005

Weekend Long Island Sound Conundrum

We came upon this odd structure a couple of weeks ago, at Sandy Point, in West Haven. Anyone know what it is for?

It is essentially a bulkheaded canal, about 5 feet wide by 6 feet deep by 50 yards long. If you look closely you can get an idea of perspective in this first picture, in which a 7-year-old boy is giving his parents a heart attack by climbing along one of the cross beams.


Sandy Point sticks into New Haven Harbor at a right angle, roughly, and the canal runs along it so that it's perpendicular to the main part of the shore. These pictures were all taken looking back toward the road and parking area. At high tide, water flows in from the salt marsh and enters the canal at the end furthest from the parking lot, and then seeps out onto the sand.


The photo below gives a good view of the salt marsh to the right and the beach to the left. You'll notice that the boy made it across without falling into the water, which probably wouldn't have hurt him but would have necessitated a 45-minute ride in the car in soaked clothes.


So what was its function? Could it have been left from the days when Sandy Point and West Haven were centers of the oystering industry? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail if you have any clues.


Anonymous Tom Baptist said...


I can't say for sure what the structure is, but during my many trips to Sandy Point over the years, I've observed freshwater flowing through the structure from upland areas to the north and west into the harbor beyond. My hunch is the structure is a type of open culvert constructed to control the flow of freshwater across the sandy beach to minimize erosion and maximize usable beach area.

11:16 PM  

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