The following was taken from “Savin Rock Memories,” compiled by the late Gil Johnson and Bennett W. Dorman:
Bradley Point and The Barnacle Restaurant
The Barnacle Restaurant and its cottages are remembered as “those red buildings out on the end of Bradley Point.” In the early 1900s the outer half facing the West Shore was purchased by Mr. & Mrs. Frank Dashiell. Yale University owned the half facing Savin Rock. Although Mr. Dashiell operated restaurants in Hartford and New Jersey, the Bradley Point property was intended to be the location for their summer cottage.
Mrs. Dashiell enjoyed serving afternoon tea to friends, and the summer cottage grew into a shorefront tearoom under her guidance. It operated as such until 1926 when, under the management of Arthur R. Wiley, it operated as a seasonal (April to November) restaurant. By this time, there had been several additions to the original cottage, and a guest house and garage had been built.
The specialized menu featured lobster, soft-shell crab, steak and chicken, served with home-made chowder and other soups, topped off by pies, cakes, and ice cream, all prepared daily on the premises.
Seating no more than 50 at one time on the two dining porches overlooking the water, it became a favorite luncheon and dinner place among area business, professional, and academic people. Connecticut Governor Raymond Baldwin, author Thornton Wilder (Our Town), and actor Montgomery Clift were among the notables who were frequent customers, and names such as Winchester (Repeating Arms) and A.C. Gilbert appeared regularly on the reservation list.
The Barnacle survived the 1938 hurricane and, in spite of rather severe damage, reopened for business only three days after the storm. World War II, with its required black-out of all shorefront property (as defense against enemy submarine spying) lent it a mysterious atmosphere.
In 1944, following the death of Mrs. Dashiell, Mr. & Mrs. Wiley purchased the property and continued to operate the restaurant and guest house. November 1954 marked the final closing, and the Wileys converted the restaurant building into their private home, residing there until 1968, when all of Bradley Point was taken over by the redevelopment project.