About Us


Our Mission

The mission of the Old Lyme Historical Society, Incorporated, is to collect, preserve, and interpret the rich history of Old Lyme, Connecticut and its environs for the benefit of residents and visitors. Cultural, economic, social, and architectural aspects of life in Old Lyme from the earliest settlements to the present will be shared with the public through the internet, exhibits, walking tours, and original publications.

The Big Picture

Initially, Lyme was part of the Saybrook ("Saye-Brooke") settlement centered on the west bank of the mouth of the Connecticut River. It was established by the Earl of Warwick in 1631, occupied in 1635, and settled and named in 1636. The lands on the east bank of the river, named after Lyme Regis in England, were formally set off from the parent Saybrook colony on February 13, 1665, in a document called "The Loving Parting." The Connecticut General Court named the new plantation "Lyme" on May 9, 1667. Lyme set off the Town of East Lyme in 1839 and, in 1854-1855, further created the two towns of Old Lyme (initially called "South" Lyme), on the shoreline at the mouth of the river, and Lyme, inland on the river opposite Essex and Deep River. Beginning in the late 1800's, Old Lyme became famous for its flourishing artists' community, centered on the emerging "American Impressionism" movement. The present town covers 27 square miles. The year-round population is approximately 7,500, with a summertime increase in six historic "beach colonies" to about 12,000.