9:56am

Mon April 11, 2011
The Picture Show

100 Words: The Life And Death Of A Connecticut Community

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:59 am

"The one thing that makes me laugh is that they always refer to them as abandoned cottages. Well, 'abandoned' is a poor choice of words. Abandoned means you walk away from it and you didn't care, and that was not the case with any of us."

-- Mary Francis King, former resident, Aug. 6, 2010

For more than 70 years, an idyllic beachfront community of 45 cottages flourished on a small peninsula in Stratford, Conn. — until a fire destroyed the only vehicle-access bridge for residents. The town decided to reclaim the land and did not renew the land lease for the cottages.

The cottage owners fought to stay, but after a decade-long court battle, the case was taken to the Supreme Court, where the town won. The owners were forced to sell their cottages to the town of Stratford for $1 each. With no vehicle access, many belongings were left behind. The land remained in limbo until last year, when a decision was made to raze the now-dilapidated cottages and turn the peninsula into a wildlife preserve.

Growing up 25 minutes from Stratford, I surprisingly never heard of this community, though as a child I had gone to the nearby beaches. When I found out and visited the area, I felt compelled to find out the story behind these remains.

Susan Falzone is a documentary and portrait photographer and a multimedia producer living in Connecticut. She is a graduate of the International Center of Photography in New York City. Her work has been exhibited in New York City and China, and can be found on her website.


"100 Words" is a series in which photographers describe their work, in their own words. Curated by Graham Letorney.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.