The Sasquanaug Association for Southport Improvement was founded in 1887 by a group of prominent local ladies seeking to improve and beautify the Village of Southport, Connecticut. At the time, Southport was in a period of transition from a bustling shipping town to a more residential enclave. Inspired by similar groups in other towns in Connecticut and Massachusetts, they raised funds through membership dues, bake sales and lawn parties to fund their endeavors such as the installation and maintenance of blue stone sidewalks and kerosene street lamps throughout the village.
In addition to civic improvement projects, the association began to acquire properties. In 1901 the group purchased land on Southport Beach and constructed the original “Sea Lodge” bathing pavilion.
In 1926, they purchased and renovated the Historic “Robinson Cottage” at 333 Main Street and dedicated the front lawn as a memorial to the organization’s founders.
In 1952 Sasquanaug acquired Southport Park – a twelve-acre wildlife preserve – as a gift from the Southport Park Association. Visit their website at http://www.SouthportPark.org.
And in 1954 the Atlantic Refining Company gifted to Sasquanaug the village parking lot behind the current Chase Bank to be used and maintained for the purpose of free public parking.
In 1966 Sasquanaug commissioned a Master Plan for Southport which provided an in depth analysis of the steps necessary to preserve and enhance the quality of life in Southport. The Southport Historic District was subsequently formed in 1967 as a result.
As we moved into the 1970s and beyond – faced with the rapidly growing pressures of real estate development – the nature of Sasquanaug’s activities began to shift from purely civic improvement to neighborhood advocacy with a political focus. While understanding that progress is inevitable, Sasquanaug sought to influence it in a way that recognized and protected the historic character of the village. This meant monitoring and appearing before Town commissions and providing oversight and coordination on public work projects.
To this day, Sasquanaug’s Board of Trustees and its membership – comprised today of both men and women – strive to continue the organization’s mission “to preserve the historic character of Southport and to contribute to the community’s day-to-day enjoyment of Village life”.