Those who venture off West Main Street in downtown Mystic and onto Gravel Street are met with scenic views of the on one side and an impressive collection of homes that speak to the village’s history on the other.
Commonly referred to as Captain’s Row the stately homes that sit along the Mystic River were once home to the area’s sea captains. In January, Captain’s Row tied for second place in Lisa Saunders’s “,” contest, but even though they didn’t win it’s worth taking a stroll through the street and into the past.
According to the the street was once called Shore Road but was renamed Gravel Street in the 1850s after the gravel brought in to stabilize the road. The majority of the homes along the street are Greek Revival, but there are also homes in the Colonial Cape Cod style and some that feature Italian architecture. And according to Saunders and the historical society one former owner of one of the homes “…built coffins in the basement, another housed the Underground Railroad and one broke sailing records.”
A self-guided history of Gravel Street complete with descriptions of each of the 16 buildings that span Gravel Street from West Main to Eldridge is available from the Mystic River Historical Society at www.mystichistory.org/MRHSTourGravelnobg_72dpi.pdf.