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Old Lyme is a town in New London County, Connecticut, United States. The Main Street of the town, Lyme Street, is a historic district. The town has long been a popular summer resort and artists' colony. The town is named after Lyme Regis, England, and contains several villages, including Black Hall, Laysville, Lyme, Soundview, and South Lyme.
Old Lyme is a community of about 7,600 permanent residents, in addition to several thousand seasonal vacationers who occupy a seaside community of summer residences. It is located on the east bank of the Connecticut River, at its confluence with the Long Island Sound, across the river from Old Saybrook on the west bank. Numerous examples of Colonial and Federal architecture can be found throughout the town.
The town of Lyme was set off from Saybrook (now known as Deep River), which is on the west bank of the river mouth, on February 13, 1665. South Lyme was later incorporated from Lyme in 1855, then renamed Old Lyme in 1857 because it contains the oldest-settled portion of the "Lymes". Old Lyme occupies about 27 square miles of shoreline, tidal marsh, inland wetlands and forested hills. The placename "Lyme" derives from Lyme Regis, a small port on the coast of Dorset, England, from which it is believed the early settlers migrated in the 17th century. The picturesque Old Lyme Cemetery contains the graves of the original settlers. The Duck River flows through the cemetery and into the Connecticut River at Watch Rock Park.
The Florence Griswold House in Old Lyme housed an art colony for many years in the early 20th century to many prominent American Impressionist painters. The Lyme Art Colony included Childe Hassam, Edward Charles Volkert, Willard Metcalf, Wilson Irvine, and Henry Ward Ranger, among many others. These artists made Old Lyme a thriving art community, which still continues today.
The Griswold House was transformed into an art museum, the Florence Griswold Museum, or affectionately called "Flo Gris", by residents of Old Lyme. Many American Impressionist paintings of the era are of subjects in and around the Griswold House and are featured in the museum, along with many other works and personal possessions of the artists who frequented there. The building of the Old Lyme Congregational Church is known for the many paintings that have been made of it, most notably by Childe Hassam.