Old Saybrook has a rich history dating back to the 1600s, when it was a new territory coveted by Dutch travelers, British settlers and Native Americans alike. To this day, there are 15 National Register sites in Old Saybrook. They include the Black Horse Tavern, the Elisha Bushnell House, the Connecticut Valley Railroad Roundhouse, the Jedidiah Dudley House, the Samuel Eliot House, the James Pharmacy, the Lynde Point Lighthouse, the Old Saybrook South Green, the Parker House, the Humphrey Pratt Tavern, the Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse, the William Tully House, the Ambrose Whittlesey House, and the John Whittlesey, Jr. House.
The General William Hart House is of particular interest to tourists. This National Register site (added in 1972) is found on Main Street and is open from summer to early fall. Inside, guests will find some of the oldest architecture in the state as well as various artifacts. This house was first built in 1767. You can tour the house courtesy of the Old Saybrook Historical Society. This small organization also presides over the Frank Stevenson Archives and the Historic Gardens.
The Frank Stevenson Archives center has old books, maps, ledgers, photos and diaries of early American history. Here, historians can research newsreels, documents, genealogical materials and cemetery records. The Hart House gardens are kept up and kept in the spirit of the original Hart family; that is, their approach to herbs and gardening. The society has also kept records and educational materials on the garden area. Some of the herbs grown here include mint, calendula, thyme, anise and sage.
There are plenty of Old Saybrook historic sights that will enlighten and inform you of Old Saybrook’s early history. Enjoy the golfing, beaches and other attractions, but do not forget to learn a few things about the town’s heritage! The Old Saybrook Historical Society can help you in this regard.