New London Celebrates 225 Years of US Custom Service

Boats docked at New London.

NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — The New London Maritime Society celebrates 225 years of the U.S. Custom Service and 180 years of New London’s Custom House with a free reception and a display.

Officials tell us the United States’ Customs Service was established in 1789 and served as the nation’s first federal law enforcement agency.  The U.S. Customs Service also helped the nation develop through the collection of revenue from maritime endeavors.  They say New London served as the main customs port in the state of Connecticut during the colonial era.  As a result, the city – which focused on whaling at the time – was able to grow and prosper.

Historians say shortly after U.S. Customs was established, the precursor to the U.S. Coast Guard called the Revenue Cutter Service was established.  They say U.S. Customs also managed the construction, staffing, and providing supplies to the nation’s lighthouses until the job went to the Coast Guard.

The New London Maritime Society will kick off the celebration with a free reception on September 21st from 5-7 at the Custom House Maritime Museum on Bank Street.  They will also feature a display of artifacts, images, and video.  Space is limited. Please RSVP to 860-447-8700, or email


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