Stony Creek (Branford)
Stony Creek is a coastal village located the southeastern section of Branford, Connecticut, centered on a harbor on Long Island Sound. Stony Creek has the ambiance of a small seaside village which retains its roots as a summer vacation location with old Victorian hotels and a working granite quarry. It is known for the Thimble Islands an archipelago of glacial rocks, ranging from 17 acres (6.9 ha) down to stepping-stone size, at the harbor's mouth. Despite their small size, they possess a wealth of history and local lore, as well as providing pleasant scenery. The islands are privately owned but visitors may get an up-close view via several tour boats which run in the spring, summer and autumn. In the past, Stony Creek was also known for lobstering and oystering, but these industries have all but vanished in recent decades.
The village which has several unique attractions: the Thimble Islands, the Stony Creek Puppet House (known as the Legacy Theatre but not yet open as of Feb 2018), Stony Creek Museum as well as a small public beach, town docks with boat launch, playground and public library. Three local companies offer boat tours and charters of the Thimble Islands from March thru October.
Other local businesses in the village consist of a package store (liquor store), retail shops, two auto service shops, Seaside Home and Gifts (A unique boutique with a nautical touch) Stony Creek Depot (vintage gift shop with vacation lodging) and two restaurants: Stony Creek Market and Thimbleberry. The village residential traffic is seasonal, and peaks between Memorial Day and Labor Day but the commercial businesses are open year-round.
Stony Creek is also home to the all-male Stony Creek Fife & Drum Corps, which was founded in 1886. The Corps practices weekly at the renovated Seaside Hall. On occasional summer evenings, the Corps plays aboard the island tour boat, much to the delight of the local residents. In the past, the Corps received many awards and honors, including participating in President Eisenhower's inaugural parade. Stony Creek is also home to the only all-female fife and drum corps, Totoket Ancient Fife & Drum Corps, who holds their practice at Seaside Hall.
A large quarry is still working and supplies the distinctive pink/orange Stony Creek granite. This granite was used for the Brooklyn Bridge, the Stony Creek Library, and the newest House Office Building in Washington, D.C. It can also be seen in the South Station terminal in Boston, Grand Central Terminal in NYC, and in the base of the Statue of Liberty.
- The novelist Ayn Rand spent the summer in Stony Creek in the late 1930s while her husband, Frank O'Connor did summer stock. She developed key elements of the plot of her novel The Fountainhead there.
- Thomas A. Steitz (1940-2018), a towering figure of late-20th-century science who shared a Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
- Wilson H. Faude, Hidden History of Connecticut, page 48, 2010, ISBN 1596293195
- Saxon, Wolfgang. "Joseph Howard Stamler, 86, Influential New Jersey Judge", The New York Times, October 23, 1998. Accessed January 24, 2018. "Joseph Howard Stamler, a former Newark lawyer whose decisions had a wide impact in the seven years he was a New Jersey Superior Court judge, died on Friday at his home in Stony Creek, Conn. He was 86 and a former resident of Summit, N.J."
- Mariotti, Steve. "Ayn Rand in Stony Creek, Connecticut", Huffington Post, June 21, 2013. Accessed January 24, 2018. "When we were friends in 1980 and 1981, I asked the famous novelist what was the favorite time of her life. 'Hands down,' she said smiling and closing her eyes to help the memory’s flood in, 'the summers in Stony Creek when I was writing in the stone house and Frank was performing in the Night of January 16th.... I always wanted to see the legendary Stone House in Stony Creek where Rand had worked for so many hours creating Anthem and thinking about the plot of The Fountainhead, which opens in the nearby quarry."
- Kolata, Gina."Thomas A. Steitz, 78, Dies; Illuminated a Building Block of Life", The New York Times, October 10, 2018. Accessed October 11, 2018. "They initially lived in New Haven and then built a home in the Stony Creek section of Branford overlooking Long Island Sound."