Grove Beach Point Association was developed by the Jas. Jay Smith Company starting in the 1920's and onward. This company developed many of the shoreline communities in our area.
The 1920 sales brochure marketing GBPA states that there was service to Grove Beach (train) Station but makes no mention of the Shore Line Electric Railway that ran through our Association back in the day.
According to the Shore Line Trolley Museum’s Trolley Towns CT Site, trolley service through Westbrook stopped for a while during this same period. "Served by the Shore Line Electric Railway from 1910 to 1919; served by the New Haven & Shore Line from 1923 to 1929." Two way service at the NHRR Grove Beach station stopped about 1923 and was totally eliminated in late 1926.
The Shoreline Electric Railway ran in the gully between Mohawk Road and Wangum Road....westward towards Grove Beach Road North, behind Dairy Queen along Trolley Ave. Eastward over the river, the Railway extended out to what is now Trolley Road and Trolley Road Extension....over behind the firehouse.
According to the history of the Association written by Fran Forde, covering the period from 1920-1997:
“Before the 1600s , Pequot Indians fished and tilled the land now called Grove Beach and Grove Beach Point. The Indians called the Village Pochoug. It’s name meant the confluence of two rivers flowing out to the sea. In 1840 the village legally became Westbrook. In the Indian times, Grove Beach Point extended to what is now known as Menunketesuck Island and the rivers, the Menunketesuck and the Patchogue emptied into Long island Sound - east of the above Island. Coastal changes over the years and the flow of the rivers separated the island from our mainland.”
In 1928 we organized as the Grove Beach Point Club with a Constitution and By-Laws. The process of getting a Charter started in 1936, the first step being incorporation as the GBPA in 1940. After making many changes we became a tax district under a special act of the Connecticut legislature on May 11, 1945. This was amended by an act of the Legislature on June 9, 1947 and again on June 6, 2005. Although we originally owned and maintained our own roads these were later turned over to the Town, probably as part of the 1947 amendment. There is little information about how the property owners cooperated, if at all, between the time JJS started developing the area and the Beach Club was organized.
Historic Dates of Grove Beach Point and surrounding areas.
1771 - a small pox hospital was started by two brothers for inoculating residents.
1774 - British raiding party attacked and burned down hospital
1891-1898 - East-West breakwater to the west of Duck Island was built as a shelter for passing boats
1911 North-South breakwater built
1920 - Duck Island was bought by a moon shiner to transport liquor to East Coast towns.
1938 - Hurricane erodes 2/3 of Duck Island (Duck Island was owned by several owners until burning down in 1959)
1945 - Grove Beach Point Association incorporated
1949 - A piece of land on Old Mail trail was purchased for $1,800
1954 - Hurricane Carol devastates cottages on the water front.
1956 - ASACE built jetty and lighthouse after dredging channel for boats.
1983-1984 USACE pumped in sand for beach nourishment. It lasted 10 years.
There are copies of Fran Forde’s history of GBPA and the JJS sales brochure in the Westbrook Public Library and at the Westbrook Historical Society.