Captain Edmund Fanning Birthplace

44 Main Street • Stonington, CT • New London County

Historical Significance

The house is the birthplace of Captain Edmund Fanning, an explorer and sea captain known as the 'Pathfinder of the Pacific.' Fanning become the first American captain to circumnavigate the globe, in 1797-1798, aboard the Betsey, with a crew from Stonington. He made a fortune trading seal skins for goods in China--silk, spices and tea--which he then sold in New York City. He discovered three Pacific Islands, known collectively as the Fanning Islands, Fanning, Washington, and Palmyra.

Photo: View east showing fa├žade and west elevation. (Tod Bryant)


"Edmund Fanning Birthplace," Historic Buildings of Connecticut
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"Edmund Fanning," Wikipedia,

Notable Features of Building or Site

This Georgian style house faces east to Main Street. It has a gambrel roof and a central chimney. The paneled door is centered on the facade and is capped with unpedimented entablature which flares out at 45 degree angles at the ends. To the sides of the door are striated pilasters, and above it is a row of square transom windows. The windows are of uniform size and have double-hung sashes with twelve small panes per sash.

The simple cornice below the roof forms the tops of the upper row of windows. The lower row windows are crowned with a similar entablature as the front door but on a smaller scale. There is a one-story shed roof coming off the back of the house.

Interrelationship of Building and Surroundings

The house is on a dense residential street on a mile-long peninsula jutting into the Long Island Sound. The house is a block away from Stonington Harbor.

Additional Information

Date(s):  Built: 1761
Style(s):  Georgian
Historic Use:  Single-family residence
Present Use:  Single-family residence

Exterior visible from public road.

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