Situated on the East side of the Connecticut River, 25 minutes south of Hartford, Middle Haddam enjoys a picturesque and colorful history of sea captains, shipbuilding and commerce.
The village’s greatest wealth of historic architecture was concentrated in the Knowles Landing Community, home to more than a dozen sea captains and several large shipyards.
These remarkable yards had the capacity and skilled craftsmen to complete all the operations involved in ship building, from making the hull to fitting the vessel with sails and rigging.
In their heyday, as many as six vessels a year were built, each one requiring some six months to complete and upward of thirty laborers.
Large brigs and ships designed for ocean travel between intercontinental markets were their speciality. Carrying an average of 200-400 tons, they were often used for the lucrative West Indies trade and smaller sloops and schooners were used to transport rum from the local distilleries to New York and the coastline. Some of these sea-going adventurers were credited with capturing British ships off Long Island during the revolutionary War and trade to the West Indies is documented as far back as 1770 when it took about three months to travel roundtrip from Knowles Landing in Middle Haddam.