Early May doesn’t generally present the most welcoming beach weather in Southern New England, but it’s far preferable to the biting, 15° F winds that I encountered at McCook Point before dawn during the first days of March this past winter.
Found along the Connecticut coast on the sandy shores of Niantic, McCook’s Point had been known instead as Champlain’s Point prior to the mid-1800s. It wasn’t until a theology professor out of East Hartford, Reverend John James McCook, began spending summers there in 1869 that the proverbial seed was planted for a change of names.
What probably cemented McCook’s name on the point was a legal battle with state government in the 1920s. A small, state-operated tuberculosis hospital had been established nearby and it quickly became clear that a larger facility was required. McCook and his family refused to sell their 16-acre property to accommodate the hospital expansion and even fought the state in court when an attempt was made to condemn the property. The McCook family prevailed and the state abandoned its efforts in 1930, just three years after old John McCook passed away.
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