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The Saugatuck River is a 23.7-mile-long (38.1 km) river in southwestern Connecticut in the United States. It drains part of suburban and rural Fairfield County west of Bridgeport, emptying into Long Island Sound. The USS Saugatuck (AO-75), a World War II fighting ship, was named after the river.
The Saugatuck River issues from Sugar Hollow Pond approximately 3 miles (5 km) southwest of downtown Danbury. It flows generally southeast, passing through the Saugatuck Reservoir (283 feet (86 m) above sea level), then turns south-southwest. In Westport, it broadens into a navigable estuary along its lower 5 miles (8 km) and enters Long Island Sound approximately 4 miles (6 km) southeast of Norwalk. Interstate 95 crosses the river near its mouth downstream from Westport center. The river is wadeable along much of its course and is a popular seasonal destination for trout fishing.
In Westport, Route 136 crosses the river on the Saugatuck River Bridge, built in 1882, the oldest surviving moveable bridge in Connecticut. The moveable section consists of a hand-cranked swing span made of two pin-connected Pratt trusses. The bridge replaced a wooden truss structure erected in 1873. Before that, a ferry service, started in 1746, helped passengers cross the river.
In the 17th century the river was the site of a Paugusset settlement. The name of the river means "river that flows out" in the Paugusset language. The land east of the river was opened to white settlement in 1637 after the defeat of the Pequot by John Mason in the Pequot War. After treaties with the local tribes, members of the Connecticut Colony began to settle the area between the Saugatuck and the Norwalk rivers to the west between 1639 and 1661. In the 18th century farming villages sprang up along the river, which was the principal means of transportation. During the 19th century, the lower river became the site of warehouses and shipyards, as well as an important hub of maritime commerce. The town of Westport was incorporated out of the existing village of Saugatuck at the mouth of the Saugatuck River and several surrounding communities in 1835.
Some crossings of the Saugatuck River are (from mouth to source):
- Saugatuck River Railroad Bridge (Metro-North railroad)
- Bridge carrying Interstate 95
- Saugatuck River Bridge (Route 136)
- Bridge carrying Post Road (U.S. Route 1)
- Bridge carrying King's Highway (Route 57)
- Bridge carrying the Merritt Parkway
- Burrs Bridge (Weston Road/Route 57)all above are in Westport, CT
- River Road, Weston
- Cartbridge Road, Weston
- Davis Hill Road, Weston
- Valley Forge Road, Weston
- Newtown Turnpike (Route 53)
- Glen Road (Route 53) Redding
- Redding Road (Route 53) Redding
- Diamond Hill Road Redding
- Redding Road (twice)Redding
- Station Road, Redding
- Simpaug Turnpike, Redding
- George Hull Hill Road, Redding
- East Starrs Plain Road, Danbury
- West Redding Road, Danbury
- Starrs Plain Road (twice)
- U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed April 1, 2011
- Westport Historical Society, plaque in the carriage barn part of the museum, read on September 30, 2007