Thames River (Connecticut)

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Thames River
Thames River (Connecticut).JPG
Sailboat at the Thames River, seen from the waterfront in New London, Connecticut
Country United States
State Connecticut
County New London
Basin features
Main source The Yantic and Shetucket rivers merging
Norwich
41°31′18″N 72°04′43″W / 41.5216°N 72.0787°W / 41.5216; -72.0787
River mouth Long Island Sound
New London and Groton
41°18′45″N 72°04′49″W / 41.3125°N 72.0804°W / 41.3125; -72.0804Coordinates: 41°18′45″N 72°04′49″W / 41.3125°N 72.0804°W / 41.3125; -72.0804
Physical characteristics
Length 15 miles (24 km)
Width
  • Minimum width:
    377 feet (115 m)
  • Maximum width:
    4,348 feet (1,325 m)

The Thames River (/ˈθmz/)[1] is a short river and tidal estuary in the U.S. state of Connecticut. It flows south for 15 miles (24 km)[2] through eastern Connecticut from the junction of the Yantic and Shetucket rivers at Norwich, to New London and Groton, which flank its mouth at Long Island Sound. The Thames River watershed includes a number of smaller basins and the 80-mile-long Quinebaug River, which rises in southern Massachusetts and joins the Shetucket River about four miles northeast of Norwich.[3][4]

History[edit]

Sleighing on the frozen river, winter of 1903-1904

The river has provided important harbors since the mid-17th century. It was originally known as the Pequot River after the Pequot Indians who dominated the area. Other early names for the river have included Frisius, Great, Great River of Pequot, Little Fresh, Mohegan, New London, and Pequod. The town was officially named New London in 1658 and the estuary river was renamed Thames to match.[5]

The United States Coast Guard Academy, Connecticut College, a U.S. Navy submarine base, and the Electric Boat submarine shipyard are located on the river at New London and Groton. The USS Nautilus (SSN-571) was launched into the river on January 21, 1954 from Electric Boat, becoming the world's first nuclear-powered submarine.[6]

Two historic forts overlook the mouth of the river at New London harbor, now Connecticut State Parks: Fort Griswold on the eastern Groton Heights, and Fort Trumbull on the New London side.

Events[edit]

The Yale-Harvard Boat Race is held annually in New London.

New London's Sailfest is an annual event which includes OpSail, a gathering of large sailing vessels, including the U.S. Coast Guard training ship Eagle.

Crossings[edit]

Town Name Carrying
Montville/

Preston

Mohegan-Pequot Bridge Connecticut Highway 2A.svg Route 2A
New London/

Groton

The Gold Star Memorial Bridge I-95.svg I-95 and

US 1 (1961).svg US 1

Amtrak's Thames River Bridge Amtrak logo 2.svg Amtrak

References[edit]

  1. ^ "How New London, Connecticut, Got Its Name". The New London Gazette. The Oldham Publishing Service. Retrieved 2015-06-17. 
  2. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed April 1, 2011
  3. ^ Eastern Connecticut Conservation District.[1] accessed June 24, 2112
  4. ^ "GNIS Detail - Thames River". geonames.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2016-08-04. 
  5. ^ "How New London, Connecticut, Got Its Name". The New London Gazette. The Oldham Publishing Service. Retrieved 2015-06-17. 
  6. ^ BBC News: "USS Nautilus: A record-breaking sub" Accessed 2014_01_21

See also[edit]