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Milford honors submarine pioneer and local resident Simon Lake by displaying a submarine at a Milford Harbor marina.

Simon Lake, a New Jersey native, lived in Milford between 1907 and his passing in 1945. Lake launched the first submarine to operate in open water, the Argonaut, Jr., in 1898.

Between 1909 and 1923, Lake built 33 submarines for U.S. Navy and also constructed vessels for European nations.

Lake’s last submarine, the two-man Explorer, was built in 1936 and was designed for civilian uses such as underwater research, mining and oil drilling, and wreck hunting and salvage. During underseas operations, the Explorer depended on a mother ship for air and power.

Divers entered the Explorer through the round hatchway. Peering inside the sub’s front windows reveals an array of switches, valves and chains.

World War II reduced civilian demand for submarines, and the Explorer was stored in drydock and remained there until 1950. After years of neglect, the Explorer was placed on display outside Bridgeport’s Museum of Art, Science and Industry (today’s Discovery Museum) until 1974.

The Explorer was restored and displayed at the Groton Navy Submarine base before it returned to its current location in Milford during the late 1990s.

Between 1960 and June 2010, Milford also had an elementary school that bore Simon Lake’s name. The school produced a newsletter named the Explorer.

Source: Simon


One Response to “Simon Lake’s Explorer, Milford”

  1. Thomas Fatone says:

    Great history here in one of my favorite towns. There is also a tube of Lake’s off of Rogers Avenue in Milford Harbor, right across from his other house. This can be seen at low tide.