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Monday, June 06, 2005

If the Navy leaves, who owns the land?

The Stamford Advocate has an interesting article about who really owns the land at the submarine base in Groton.

The answer seems no one is sure who owns the land, the state or the military.

So, when the 112 acres were donated in 1868, Connecticut was the official donor but New London had put up the most money, Bolles owned much of the land and the base was ultimately placed in Groton and Ledyard.

The earliest paperwork does not contain provisions for what happens if the Navy leaves, Kimball said. It became the stuff of Bolles family lore.

"The story my dad told, he said that if the flag failed to fly over the base for 24 consecutive hours, the land would go back to the Bolles family," said Mary Lamphere, a descendant of Bolles.

None of this mattered much in 1868, Kimball said, because nobody considered that the base might someday close.

When you start to hear folk tales in a middle of a land dispute, you know things are going to get very intersting.