Plaque sponsored by the Norwich Rotary
Located on Chelsea Harbor Drive
War with England led to a strict enforced British blockade of Thames River shipping from May 1813 to March 1815. American frigates United States and Macedonian along with sloop-of-war Hornet were trapped at Gales Ferry and Bushnell Cove next to Norwich in Thamesville. Dismantled ships crowded the Chelsea harbor, and with valuable mills here there was local fear of invasion as at Stonington in August, 1814, so militia stood ready.
After peace the busy harbor thrived and on October 15, 1816 the first steamboat to dock here, Connecticut, created huge local interest, and on July 1, 1817 a Norwich built steamboat named Eagle with 50 passengers exploded during the maiden voyage on the Thames River in full view of President James Monroe on tour abroad the steamboat Fulton. While the embarrassment was devastating thankfully injuries to crew and passengers were minimal.