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Old Lyme, Connecticut facts for kids

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Old Lyme, Connecticut
Official seal of Old Lyme, Connecticut
Location within New London County, Connecticut
Country  United States
U.S. state  Connecticut
County New London
Metropolitan area New London
Incorporated 1855
 • Type Selectman-town meeting
 • Total 28.8 sq mi (74.6 km2)
 • Land 23.1 sq mi (59.8 km2)
 • Water 5.7 sq mi (14.8 km2)
20 ft (6 m)
 • Total 7,628
 • Density 264.9/sq mi (102.25/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 860/959
FIPS code 09-57040
GNIS feature ID 0213483

Old Lyme is a coastal town in New London County, Connecticut, United States. The town has several beach areas that offer summer rentals of cottages by the week or the month. The Main Street of the town, Lyme Street, is a historic district with several homes once owned by sea captains. The town has an art school and a thriving art community. The town is named after Lyme Regis, England.

The US headquarters of Sennheiser is located in Old Lyme, as is Callaway Cars, the Florence Griswold Museum (including the Florence Griswold House) and the Lyme Art Association. Old Lyme and its neighboring town Lyme are the namesake for Lyme disease.

The town of Old Lyme contains several villages, including Black Hall, Laysville, Soundview, and South Lyme. The total population of the town was 7,628 at the 2020 census.

Background and history

Old Lyme is a community of about 7,600 permanent residents, in addition to several thousand seasonal vacationers who occupy a seaside community of summer residences. It is located on the east bank of the Connecticut River at its confluence with the Long Island Sound, across the river from Old Saybrook on the west bank. Numerous examples of Colonial and Federal architecture can be found throughout the town.

The town of Lyme was set off from Saybrook (now known as Deep River), which is on the west bank of the river mouth, on February 13, 1665. South Lyme was later incorporated from Lyme in 1855, then renamed Old Lyme in 1857 because it contains the oldest-settled portion of the "Lymes". Old Lyme occupies about 27 square miles (70 km2) of shoreline, tidal marsh, inland wetlands and forested hills. Its neighbor to the north is the town of Lyme, and to the east is East Lyme. Other placenames from the same root are Hadlyme (between Lyme and East Haddam) and South Lyme (a beach resort area of Old Lyme). The placename "Lyme" derives from Lyme Regis, a small port on the coast of Dorset, England, from which it is believed the early settlers migrated in the 17th century. The picturesque Old Lyme Cemetery contains the graves of the original settlers. The Duck River flows through the cemetery and into the Connecticut River at Watch Rock Park.

The "Lyme" in Lyme disease was named after the town. It was discovered in 1975 after a mysterious outbreak of what appeared to be juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in children who lived in Lyme and Old Lyme.

Old Lyme Art Colony

see main page Old Lyme Art Colony

The Florence Griswold House in Old Lyme housed an art colony for many years in the early 20th century to many prominent American Impressionist painters. The Lyme Art Colony included Childe Hassam, Edward Charles Volkert, Willard Metcalf, Wilson Irvine, and Henry Ward Ranger, among many others. These artists made Old Lyme a thriving art community, which still continues today.

The Griswold House was transformed into an art museum, the Florence Griswold Museum, or affectionately called "Flo Gris", by residents of Old Lyme. Many American Impressionist paintings of the era are of subjects in and around the Griswold House and are featured in the museum, along with many other works and personal possessions of the artists who frequented there. The building of the Old Lyme Congregational Church is known for the many paintings that have been made of it, most notably by Childe Hassam.

On the National Register of Historic Places

Places of worship

  • First Congregational Church of Old Lyme; 2 Ferry Road, Old Lyme, CT 06371; United Church of Christ
  • Christ the King Church; 1 McCurdy Road, Old Lyme, CT 06371; Roman Catholic
  • Saint Ann's Episcopal Church; 82 Shore Road, Old Lyme, CT 06371; Episcopal
  • Shoreline Church; 387 Shoe Road, Old Lyme, CT 06371
  • First Congregational Church; 308 Mile Creek Road, Old Lyme, CT 06371 ...end comment-->Lowell Palmer Weicker Jr. (1931-), served as a U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, and the 85th Governor of Connecticut. He unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for President in 1980.


Barefoot tourists

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 28.8 square miles (75 km2), of which 23.1 square miles (60 km2) is land and 5.7 square miles (15 km2), or 19.85%, is water. Old Lyme, along with neighboring Old Saybrook, enjoys a relatively mild temperate climate.

Principal communities

  • Black Hall
  • Laysville
  • Lyme Station
  • Old Lyme center
  • Sound View
  • South Lyme (06376)
    • Edge Lea, Hatchetts Point, Point O'Woods

Other minor communities and geographic features in the town are Between the Rivers, Black Hall Pond, Brighton Beach, Ferry Road, Flat Rock Hill, Four Mile River, Griswold Point, Hall's Corners, Hawk's Nest Beach, Homestead Circle, Johnnycake Hill, Miami Beach, Mile Creek, Neck Road, Old Colony Beach, Old Lyme Estates, Old Lyme Shores, Rogers Lake, Sill Lane, Smith's Neck, Tantummaheag, Tuttles Sandy Beach, Whippoorwill, and White Sands Beach.

Rogers Lake

Rogers Lake is located in the towns of Old Lyme and Lyme and is formed by a dam along Town Woods Road in Old Lyme. The lake's surface area is 265 acres (1.07 km2). Grassy Hill Brook and Broad Swamp Brook feed into the lake. The lake's watershed is 4,833 acres (19.56 km2) of woodland. The outlet below the dam is Mill Brook, which is a tributary of the Lieutenant River, a tributary of the Connecticut River.

There are five small islands on Rogers Lake, the largest of which has a small cottage built on it.

Rogers Lake is stocked every year with brook and rainbow trout.

A street that runs along the north side of Rogers Lake is called Blood Street; it has lent its name to the town's rowing team, the Blood Street Sculls. Rogers Lake is also bordered by Grassy Hill Road and Town Woods Road. There is also a small lakeside neighborhood off of Rogers Lake Trail.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 1,304
1870 1,362 4.4%
1880 1,387 1.8%
1890 1,319 −4.9%
1900 1,180 −10.5%
1910 1,181 0.1%
1920 946 −19.9%
1930 1,313 38.8%
1940 1,702 29.6%
1950 2,141 25.8%
1960 3,068 43.3%
1970 4,964 61.8%
1980 6,159 24.1%
1990 6,535 6.1%
2000 7,406 13.3%
2010 7,603 2.7%
2020 7,628 0.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
See also: List of Connecticut locations by per capita income
Relaxing behind the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme

As of the census of 2010, there were 7,603 people, 2,958 households, and 2,153 families residing in the town. The population density was 320.6 people per square mile (123.8/km2). There were 4,570 housing units at an average density of 197.8 per square mile (76.4/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.37% White, 0.26% African American, 0.28% Native American, 1.16% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.32% from other races, and 0.59% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.95% of the population.

There were 2,958 households, out of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.2% were married couples living together, 7.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.2% were non-families. 22.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 2.93.

Poetically beautiful waterfront

In the town, the population was spread out, with 24.0% under the age of 18, 3.6% from 18 to 24, 26.4% from 25 to 44, 29.2% from 45 to 64, and 16.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.6 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $68,386, and the median income for a family was $75,779. Males had a median income of $52,110 versus $39,158 for females. The per capita income for the town was $41,386. About 2.2% of families and 3.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.9% of those under age 18 and 1.8% of those age 65 or over.

Voter registration

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 25, 2005
Party Active Voters Inactive Voters Total Voters Percentage
Republican 1,931 66 1,997 32.76%
Democratic 1,384 38 1,422 23.33%
Unaffiliated 2,546 119 2,665 43.73%
Minor Parties 10 0 10 0.16%
Total 5,871 223 6094 100%

First Selectman and Board of Selectmen

  • First Selectman; Tim Griswold; Republican
  • Selectman; Matt Ward, Republican
  • Selectwoman; Martha Shoemaker, Democrat


The Estuary Transit District provides public transportation throughout Old Lyme and the surrounding towns through its 9 Town Transit Service. Services include connections to the Old Saybrook Train Station, served by Amtrak and Shore Line East railroads, as well as the New London Transportation Center, served by train and ferry service.

Notable people

  • Jim Calhoun (1942- ), head coach of the University of Connecticut's men's basketball team, which won three national championships, and who was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005; began his career as a coach in town at Lyme-Old Lyme High School
  • Herb Chambers (1941- ), billionaire owner and President of Herb Chambers Companies auto dealerships
  • Elisabeth Gordon Chandler (1913–2006), sculptor, resident, and founder of the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts
  • Lois Darling (1917–1989), artist and illustrator
  • Albert Einstein, who had a summer home on the Old Lyme shore
  • Chris Elliott (1960), actor and screenwriter, known best for his supporting role in the 1998 comedy There's Something About Mary
  • Walker Evans, photographer; lived nearby in Lyme until his death in 1975
  • Elsie Ferguson (1883–1961), actress
  • Ella T. Grasso (1919–1981), first female governor of Connecticut, first woman to be elected governor in the United States who was not the wife or widow of a governor, awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1993
  • Childe Hassam (1859–1935), American Impressionist, stayed in the Florence Griswold House as part of the Old Lyme Art Colony
  • Wilson Irvine (1869–1936), American Impressionist, stayed in the Florence Griswold House as part of the Old Lyme Art Colony
  • Peter Karter (1922-2010), founder of early recycling company
  • Susanne Katherina Langer (1895-1985), philosopher, writer, and educator, one of the first female academic philosophers
  • Ezra Lee (1749-1821), American colonial soldier known for commanding the Turtle submarine, is buried in Duck River Cemetery in Old Lyme
  • Willard Metcalf (1858–1925), American Impressionist, stayed in the Florence Griswold House as part of the Old Lyme Art Colony
  • Diana Muir, writer and historian
  • Roger Tory Peterson (1908–1996), naturalist, ornithologist, artist, and educator
  • Henry Ward Ranger (1858–1916), American Impressionist, stayed in the Florence Griswold House as part of the Old Lyme Art Colony
  • Luanne Rice (1955- ), novelist
  • Edwin J. Roland (1905-1985), Coast Guard admiral
  • Elizabeth Tashjian (1912-2007), artist and founder of the Nut Museum in Old Lyme
  • Edward Charles Volkert (1871–1935), American Impressionist, stayed in the Florence Griswold House as part of the Old Lyme Art Colony
  • Clark Voorhees (1871–1933), American Impressionist, stayed in the Florence Griswold House as part of the Old Lyme Art Colony
  • Morrison Waite (1816–1888), Chief Justice of the United States appointed by Ulysses S. Grant, was born and lived in Old Lyme until leaving for college at Yale.
  • Ellen Axson Wilson (1860–1914), first wife of president Woodrow Wilson, came as an art student to the Florence Griswold House

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