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Fort Trumbull, New London CT shown in an 1813 watercolor by Susan Tamulevich

Whale Plaques

Whale Plaque, Daniel Comstock 1840

Is your house at least fifty years old? If so, it's eligible for a Historic Whale Plaque!  

Not only do whale plaques honor a house's history, but the research we conduct for each plaque adds to our knowledge of New London's buildings and neighborhoods.  We begin by conducting a title search tracing the building back to its original owner.  We then write a narrative about the building's history, which we present to the property owner along with the title search when we deliver the plaque.

Have you ever wondered what goes into this type of research?  Our board president Tom Couser has written an essay about his experiences conducting title searches which you can read here.


Plaque Program History

In 1985 NLL began a program to award owners who rehabilitated their New London houses. A Restoration Award (a Whale Plaque) was presented three times a year to various homes and buildings. The plaques were designed by John Gula, who stenciled and hand-painted a blue whale on a white background. Information on the plaque includes the name of the original owner of the house and the date the house was built.


The program and the plaques were so popular that NLL created an application process for the plaques which included a fee to cover costs and provide a small amount of income for the organization. Over 500 buildings in New London now have these whale plaques mounted near their front door with the name of the original owner and the date of construction. An annual Restoration Award is presented to one house or commercial building to recognize the accomplishments of a restoration project.


The plaques, research, delivery and installation cost $250, discounted to $235 for New London Landmarks' members. 

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