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Colorized postcard depicting a statue at Putnam Memorial State Park

Connecticut’s Valley Forge: The Redding Encampment and Putnam Memorial State Park

As the 1778-79 winter quarters for a division of the Continental army, Putnam Memorial State Park is sometimes referred to as “Connecticut’s Valley Forge.”


Newspaper clipping featuring text and an image of two men

Connecticut Discovered Lyme Disease – Who Knew?

The discovery of Lyme disease, and its transmission through ticks, got its start around Lyme, Connecticut in 1975.


Bursting of the Staffordville Reservoir

Bursting of the Staffordville Reservoir – Today in History: March 27

On March 27, 1877, the Staffordville Reservoir Company’s dam burst, flooding the valley for a distance of five miles and causing the loss of two lives.


The Socially Dynamic Drumlin of Foss Hill

February 23, 2023 • Education, Environment, Middletown

The changing nature of Foss Hill (on the campus of Wesleyan University) tells the story of evolving cultural influences that altered the landscapes of universities across the country.


The Blizzard of 1978

Blizzard Halts Mail Delivery – Today in History: February 7

February 7, 2023 • Environment, Weather

On February 7, 1978, the US Postal Service was unable to deliver mail to many Connecticut residents for the first time in almost 40 years.


The Van Vleck Observatory: A Reflection of Environmental Conditions

January 20, 2023 • Architecture, Environment, Middletown, Science

Designers of the Van Vleck Observatory overcame numerous environmental and geographical challenges to help Wesleyan University make an impact on the world’s understanding of the universe.


Elm Arcade, Temple Street, New Haven

A Beautiful and Goodly Tree: The Rise and Fall of the American Elm

Almost every Connecticut town has an Elm Street, named for the popular trees that grew in abundance until a fungal infestation greatly diminished their numbers.


City of Hartford, Connecticut

Bird’s-eye Views Offer Idealized Portraits of Progress

Panoramic prints of growing cities and towns became popular in the late 1800s as Connecticut transformed from an agricultural to an industrial state.


MT. Higby Reservoir

Middletown’s Reservoirs Drive Growth Throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries

December 26, 2022 • Environment, Everyday Life, Middletown

The Laurel Brook and Mount Higby Reservoirs helped provide reliable sources of water that drove the growth of Middletown.


Pachaug Trail, Wiclcabouet Marsh, Voluntown

The Story of Connecticut’s Largest State Forest

Pachaug State Forest is the largest state forest in Connecticut and covers approximately 24,000 acres and crossing the borders of numerous towns.


A Plan of the Town of New Haven with All the Buildings in 1748

Why Was New Haven Divided into Nine Squares?

The layout of New Haven’s nine-square grid, though not the plan itself, is attributed to the original settlers’ surveyor, John Brockett.


Map of the Town of New Britain, Hartford County, Conn. From original surveys by E.M. Woodford

“A Noble and Precious Life”: Edgar M. Woodford, Civil Engineer, Abolitionist, and Soldier

This Avon-born man not only put his talents on the map, literally, he also went west to secure Kansas as a free state.


Nuclear power plant, Haddam Neck

Connecticut Yankee Brings Power to the People

For nearly 30 years the Connecticut Yankee Atomic Power Company operated a nuclear power plant in Haddam Neck, Connecticut.


Morton Biskind Warned the World About DDT

A Westport physician named Morton Biskind became one of the first to warn the world about the dangers of DDT. His work ultimately helped inspire the writings of Rachel Carson.


The Hermitage, Peter's Rock

Peter’s Rock: North Haven History with a View

Far from being a mere recreational hotspot, however, Peter’s Rock is a formation with an extensive history of service to the surrounding area.


Postcard of Dinosaur State Park, ca. 1960s

Discovered Dinosaur Tracks Re-Route Highway and Lead to State Park

Some 200 million years ago, carnivorous dinosaurs roamed Rocky Hill leaving the three-toed tracks that would become our state fossil.


Putting History on the Map

While maps serve a utilitarian function at the time of their production, they become snapshots in time of the memories of those who designed them.


Alain and May White Memorial Boulder

Alain and May White Memorial Boulder

August 5, 2022 • Environment, Litchfield

Words of thanks on a stone marker in Litchfield highlight contributions of a brother and sister to land preservation.


Thomas Cole, View of Monte Video, Seat of Daniel Wadsworth Esq., 1878

Talcott Mountain: A View of Early New England

July 30, 2022 • Avon, Environment, Everyday Life

The Talcott Mountain range lies in the northeastern section of Avon and is arguably the town’s most prominent geographic feature.


Connecticut State Park Picture Plan

Preserving Connecticut’s Natural Beauty: Connecticut’s First State Parks

Sherwood Island, Mount Tom, Macedonia Brook, and Kent Falls are among the earliest lands set aside as the parks movement took hold in the state.


Trail in the woods. There are trees lining a gravel/dirt path and in the foreground there is a sign that points towards the trail and reads "Tree I.D. Trail"

Saving Sessions Woods

After decades as historic family property and summer camp, Sessions Woods became a park after local residents organized to save it from private developers.


Elizabeth Park, Hartford

Oldest Rose Garden – Who Knew?

The Elizabeth Park Rose Garden in Hartford is the oldest municipally operated rose garden in the country.


Map of the state of Connecticut showing Indian trails, villages and sachemdoms

Andover to Woodstock: How Connecticut Ended Up with 169 Towns

Religious mandates, the difficulties of colonial-era travel, and industrialization are a few of the forces that gave rise to the proliferation of towns in our state.


James Trenchard, View from the Green Woods towards Canaan and Salisbury, in Connecticut

Dynamic Tensions: Conservation and Development up to the 1920s

From indigenous practices to Progressive-era projects, changing attitudes toward natural resources have shaped and reshaped the state’s landscape.


Map of changing Connecticut's boundary lines

Surveying Connecticut’s Borders

After some 350 years, the matter of where exactly some of the state’s boundaries lie continues to be debated.


The Middlesex Quarry, Portland

Portland Puts Its Stamp on an Architectural Era

The brownstone quarries in Portland, Connecticut, owe their existence to millions of years of prehistoric sediments accumulating in the Connecticut River.


Drawing of a man's profile turned to the left. He has a long beard and is wearing glasses.

Arbor Day’s Roots in Connecticut – Who Knew?

Connecticut’s Reverend Birdsey Grant Northrop popularized Arbor Day celebrations in schools across the country.


Bridge on the grounds of Gillette's Castle

A Public Responsibility: Conservation and Development in the 20th Century

The seemingly contradictory calls to use or preserve the state’s natural resources are, in fact, closely related efforts that increasingly work in tandem—but not without conflict.


Keney Park Meadow, ca. early 1900s

The Park Movement in Hartford

The Hartford City Parks Collection comprises a rich archive, documenting Hartford’s pioneering effort to establish and maintain a viable system of municipal parks and connecting parkways between them.


Shad Hat

Mad about Shad: Connecticut’s Love Affair with an Oily Fish

Some Connecticut River towns continue to hold an annual shad festival, replete with a “Shad Queen” and a feast known as a “shad planking.”



The Industrial Might of Connecticut Pegmatite

Connecticut has a complex and compelling geologic legacy with substantial mineral riches, including pegmatite that has historically been a boon to industry.


Barkhamsted Hollow Church

A Valley Flooded to Slake the Capital Region’s Thirst

From 1927 to 1948, the Metropolitan District Commission built the Saville Dam and flooded the valley to create the Barkhamsted Reservoir, displacing over a thousand people.


Lantern Hill

Breaking the Myth of the Unmanaged Landscape

Evidence of early Native land use is etched into the landscape and preserved in oral tradition as well as the historical and archaeological records.


The Surprising Prevalence of Earthquake Activity in Connecticut

Connecticut has experienced thousands of earthquakes since European settled the area, the most active site being the village of Moodus in East Haddam.


Andrus Field 1831–1911: Athletics and the Environment

The building of Andrus Field on the campus of Wesleyan University demonstrates changes made to the built environment to meet the changing needs of a local community.


Mohawk Ski Area

Mohawk Mountain Made Snow for Winter Sports Lovers – Who Knew?

In the 1930s, skiing became a popular pastime at Mohawk State Park in Cornwall and became famous for documenting the first artificial snow.


Aerial view of Black Rock Turnpike Bridge and Vicinity

Overland Travel in Connecticut, from Footpaths to Interstates

By overcoming the limitation of distance, transportation makes possible the many economic and social interactions that allow a community, a people, an entire culture, to thrive


The White Pine Acts – Who Knew?

The British government made it illegal for colonials to cut down white pine trees over 24 inches in diameter—preserving the trees for use as masts on British naval ships.


Connecticut River, 2011

Old Saybrook Faces Down Threats to Its Water Supply

Shallow waterways and shifting sandbars made water navigation hazardous and prevented Old Saybrook from ever becoming a major port city.


Byram River, Pemberwick, October 16, 1955

Byram River Flood – Today in History: October 15

A few minutes before 11:00 pm on October 15, 1955, Greenwich officials pulled the alarm signal and declared a state of emergency.


New Netherlands and New England map

Reckoning with the Dutch: the Treaty of Hartford, 1650

Hartford place names, such as Dutch Point, Huyshope Avenue, and Adriaen’s Landing, are reminders of a time when Connecticut was part of New Netherlands.


Sharpe Hill Vineyard in Pomfret

Raise a Glass to Winemaking in Connecticut

The Colony’s first settlers produced wine and spirits, but it would not be until the 1970s that Connecticut could grow and sell its harvest.


The Charter Oak before its fall

The Charter Oak Fell – Today in History: August 21

August 21, 2021 • Environment, Folklore, Hartford

On August 21, 1856, the Charter Oak, a noted landmark and symbol of Hartford and Connecticut, fell during a severe wind and rain storm.


Lake Pocotopaug, East Hampton

Lake Pocotopaug Shapes the Growth of East Hampton

East Hampton is home to one of Connecticut’s largest inland bodies of water, Lake Pocotopaug.


Roger Tory Peterson, European starlings

Artist Roger Tory Peterson, a Champion for the Natural World

July 27, 2021 • Arts, Environment, Old Lyme, Science

Artist, author, and influential conservationist Roger Tory Peterson pioneered the modern age of bird watching with his 1934 book, A Field Guide to the Birds.


Testing the camping equipment on The Gunnery’s campus in Washington

Reading, Writing, and the Great Outdoors: Frederick Gunn’s School Transforms Victorian-era Education

In 1850, this educator, prominent abolitionist, and outdoorsman founded The Gunnery, a school in Washington, Connecticut.


Candlewood Lake construction

Creating Candlewood Lake – Today in History: July 15

Candlewood Lake was the first large-scale project in the United States to employ the concept of a pumped-water storage facility.


Brass City/Grass Roots: From Farmers to Developers: The Rasmussens of Town Plot

This article is part of the digital exhibit “Brass City/Grass Roots: The Persistence of Farming in Waterbury, Connecticut”


Brass City/Grass Roots: The Pierponts of East Farms

This article is part of the digital exhibit “Brass City/Grass Roots: The Persistence of Farming in Waterbury, Connecticut”


Brass City/Grass Roots: Remnants and Revivals

This article is part of the digital exhibit “Brass City/Grass Roots: The Persistence of Farming in Waterbury, Connecticut”


Eight Mile River

Continuity and Change along the Eightmile River

July 9, 2021 • Environment, Lyme, Salem

The history of the Eightmile River illustrates the vital and changing roles that such waterways have played in Connecticut’s development.


Postcard of the Parking Area, Rocky Neck State Park, East Lyme

Abundant Wildlife Drives the History of Rocky Neck State Park

Consisting of 710 acres of camping and recreational areas, Rocky Neck State Park is located on Long Island Sound in East Lyme.


Rose Arches, Elizabeth Park

Elizabeth Park’s Rose Garden: June is Busting Out All Over

Boasting 15,000 bushes and about 800 varieties of roses, it is the oldest municipally operated rose garden in the country.


Gifford Pinchot, ca. 1890-1910

Gifford Pinchot: Bridging Two Eras of National Conservation

Connecticut-born Gifford Pinochet oversaw the rapid expansion of national forest land holdings in the early 1900s.


Litchfield’s Revolutionary War Soldiers’ Tree

In 1902, the Daughters of the American Revolution celebrated Arbor Day by planting a tree on the Litchfield Green to commemorate the town’s Revolutionary War soldiers.


The Thimble Islands – Little Islands with a Big History

While initially uninhabited because of their rocky soil, the Thimble Islands in Branford evolved into both a popular tourist destination and an exclusive residential community.


20th-century photograph of shad nets

A Tale of Shad, the State Fish

The aquatic inhabitant, shad, has a long history of influencing foodways, income, and culture in the region.


Artist’s rendering of the Connecticut Yankee Power Company Plant

Connecticut Yankee and Millstone: 48 Years of Nuclear Power

In 1968 the prospect of nuclear power energized those hoping to find an alternative to coal, oil, and other fossil fuels.


Hat-factory With Hose-house On The Hill, Danbury

Rivers of Outrage

Pollution of Connecticut’s waters by industrial waste and sewage in the decades after the Civil War was arguably the state’s first modern environmental crisis.


Spillway and bridge near Saville Dam, Barkhamsted

Barkhamsted Reservoir Construction Washes Away a Community

While the Barkhamsted Reservoir project proved successful, it cost 1,000 displaced residents their homes and livelihoods.


Rockwell Park Lagoon, Bristol

Mr. & Mrs. Rockwell’s Park

In 1914, bell and ball bearing manufacturer Albert Rockwell donated 80 acres of land to the city of Bristol for the creation of a public park.


Connecticut River and Mt. Holyoke Range from Mountain Park, Connecticut

The Connecticut Valley Authority That Never Was

In the early 20th century, supporters of the New Deal tried to recreate the Tennessee Valley Authority in the Connecticut River Valley.


Oyster grounds, Western Division; Town of Westport

The Battle for Cockenoe Island

In 1967, the United Illuminating Company proposed to build a nuclear power plant on Cockenoe Island off the coast of Westport, but grassroots activism ultimately scuttled that plan.


Copy of Map of Windsor, shewing the parishes, the roads, and houses by Seth Pease

Seth Pease Surveys New Lands

This Suffield native’s work in “New Connecticut” and other Western territories reveals how the new nation took stock of its expanding borders.


Sandbagging at the Stanley P. Rockwell Co

The Flood That We Forget: October 15 and 16, 1955

When we speak of the “Flood of 1955,” we should remind ourselves that two separate floods, one in August and a second one in October, occurred.


New England burst its boilers off Essex, October 8, 1833

The Steamboat New England: “The shock was dreadful” – Today in History: October 8

October 8, 2020 • Disaster, Essex, Environment, Transportation

One of Connecticut’s worst steamboat disasters occurred on the dark and stormy night of October 8, 1833, on the Connecticut River.


Combate de Cavite, 10 de Mayo 1898

The Colvocoresses Oak

September 11, 2020 • Environment, Litchfield, War and Defense

Litchfield remembers the Spanish-American War’s Battle of Manila Bay.


Steam tugboat J. W. Coultston, ca.1890s

The Great River: Connecticut’s Main Stream

Highway. Barrier. Resource. Sewer. Over the centuries each of these names has been used to describe one of the defining feature’s of the state’s landscape.


Eighteen-hundred-and-froze-to-death: 1816, The Year Without a Summer

Sunspots and volcanic eruptions led to cooler than normal temperatures in the summer of 1816.


Flood damage to railroad tracks, Derby, 1955

Hurricanes Connie & Diane Deliver Double Hit – Who Knew?

Hurricanes Connie and Diane, which both struck in August 1955, exceeded the combined property damage of the Flood of 1936 and Hurricane of 1938.


The Entrance to Pope Park

Pope Park – Yesterday and Today

Once the proposed site of Albert Pope’s industrial village, Pope Park has served the recreation needs of the Hartford community for over one hundred years.


Highway bridge spanning Connecticut River

An American Heritage River – Today in History: July 27

July 27, 2020 • Environment

On July 27, 1998, Vice President Al Gore designated the Connecticut River one of 14 American Heritage Rivers.


Julian Alden Weir, The Farm, etching

Weir Farm the Result of a Trade – Who Knew?

Weir Farm, located in Ridgefield and Wilton, Connecticut, resulted from the trade of a painting and ten dollars.


Hammonasset Beach State Park

Hammonasset State Park Serves the State and its Residents

Located in Madison, Hammonasset State Park provides visitors with opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, or strolling along the park’s meandering boardwalk.


Detail from A Map of the Connecticut Western Reserve, from actual Survey, surveyed by Seth Pease

New Connecticut on Lake Erie: Connecticut’s Western Reserve

If you drive through the area of Ohio still called the Western Reserve today, you will find towns named Norwich, Saybrook, New London, Litchfield, Mansfield, and Plymouth.


Moodus, Town of East Haddam

Largest Earthquake in Connecticut – Today in History: May 16

On May 16, 1791, the largest earthquake to shake Connecticut took place in Moodus, an area known for earthquake activity.


Connecticut River, 2011

The Connecticut River

The Connecticut River received a designation as an American Heritage River, and it remains protected as just one of 14 rivers in the country to be recognized as such.


A Woman Ahead of Her Time: Mabel Osgood Wright

This writer and photographer founded the Connecticut Audubon Society and created Fairfield’s Birdcraft Sanctuary.


Olin Library and The Debate About Open Space at Wesleyan University

The history of Wesleyan’s library system includes a debate that reveals how values associated with the environment in the early 1900s helped shape the campus’s development.


Postcard of Charles Island, Milford, CT

A Good Spot and a Healthy Place: A Short History of Charles Island

Before becoming a part of Silver Sands State Park, Milford’s Charles Island served as everything from a luxury resort to the home of a fertilizer factory.


Sleeping Giant, Mount Carmel, Hamden

A Volcanic Giant Sleeps in Hamden

November 29, 2019 • Belief, Environment, Native Americans, Hamden

The unique ridge that runs east-west just six miles north of New Haven is known as “Sleeping Giant” for its resemblance (from a distance) to a recumbent person.


Video – Hidden History: Bushnell Park

Your Town’s History in Video: Bushnell Park


Video – When Disaster Struck: The Flood of 1936, Part I

The CPTV Original, When Disaster Struck Connecticut, provides an in-depth look at the four major natural disasters that befell Connecticut between 1888 and 1955.


Video – When Disaster Struck: The Flood of 1936, Part 2

The CPTV Original, When Disaster Struck Connecticut, provides an in-depth look at the four major natural disasters that befell Connecticut between 1888 and 1955.


View of Ansonia, Conn. 1875

Map – Bird’s-eye View of Ansonia, 1875

November 28, 2016 • Ansonia, Environment

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries panoramic or perspective maps, also known as bird’s-eye views and aero views, were used to depict many of Connecticut’s town and cities.


Video – When Disaster Struck: The 1938 Hurricane, Part I

The CPTV Original, When Disaster Struck Connecticut, provides an in-depth look at the four major natural disasters that befell Connecticut between 1888 and 1955.


Camp Cross Housatonic State Forest

Hidden Nearby: Two Monuments to Sportsmen at Housatonic Meadows State Park

June 20, 2016 • Cornwall, Environment, Sharon, Work

Two monuments in Housatonic Meadows State Park mark this area’s reputation as one of the finest fly fishing locales in the Northeast.


Starr Mill

Understanding the Environmental Effects of Industry by Examining the Starr Mill

The development of resources both in and around the Coginchaug River in Middletown were representative of prevailing attitudes about industrial expansion and environmental protection.


Detail from a Map of the survey for a canal route for manufacturing purposes from the head of Enfield Falls to Hartford

Windsor Engineers Success

In recognition of the importance of the canal and the village in fostering local economic development, the area was given the name Windsor Locks in 1854.


Bird's-eye map of Moosup, Conn. Uniondale and Almyville,

A Bird’s-eye View of Moosup

This depiction of a Quinebaug Valley town and its satellite communities—Uniondale and Almyville—records an idealized view of the 19th-century textile boom.


Map detail of Broad Brook, Conn.

A Bird’s-eye View of Broad Brook

This rendering of the village of Broad Brook depicts a classic New England mill town but takes creative liberties to emphasize the community’s assets.


View of Camp Columbia, Morris

Hidden Nearby: Camp Columbia State Park in Morris

April 8, 2014 • Education, Environment, Morris

Once an engineering field school for Columbia University, this former campus presents a study in change and adaptation.


The Jedediah Strong Milestone

Hidden Nearby: Jedediah Strong’s Milestone

The Litchfield man behind this colonial-era mile marker led an accomplished but, ultimately, tragic life.


Circus Parade, Main Street, Hartford

A Legacy of Thriving Cities 1905

With rapid growth due to immigration and industrialization, the turn of the century brought a sharp rise in the importance and vitality of Connecticut’s cities.


View of the New Haven Green

A Puritan Landscape New Haven Town Green

On April 24, 1638 Rev. John Davenport and Theophilus Eaton sailed into the New Haven harbor.


Litchfield's Constitution Oak

The Constitution Oak

Connecticut, the “Constitution State,” has a unique history of state constitutions. The “constitution” celebrated on our license plates is the Fundamental Orders of 1638.


New Haven Harbor, US Coast Survey, 1872

Three Young Engineers: Charting New Haven

When the United States Coast Survey set out to compile detailed charts of New Haven Harbor in the 1870s, they hired recent graduates of Yale’s Sheffield Scientific School as assistants.


Video – When Disaster Struck: The 1938 Hurricane, Part 3

The CPTV Original, When Disaster Struck Connecticut, provides an in-depth look at the four major natural disasters that befell Connecticut between 1888 and 1955.


Video – When Disaster Struck Connecticut: The Flood of 1955

The CPTV Original, When Disaster Struck Connecticut, provides an in-depth look at the four major natural disasters that befell Connecticut between 1888 and 1955.


View of Norwich, from the west side of the river

Norwich in Perspective

May 24, 2013 • Environment, Everyday Life, Norwich

Two different artistic takes on a prosperous 19th-century mill town and commercial center.


View of Rockville, Conn

Bird’s-eye Views of Rockville Chart Textile Industry’s Growth

Two depictions, produced 18 years apart, illustrate how the textile boom transformed this borough of Vernon.


Video – Gifford Pinchot: America’s First Forester

A public television adaptation of Gary Hines’ one-man play about the first Chief of the Forest Service, Gifford Pinchot.


View of Winsted, Conn,1877

Bird’s-eye Views of Winsted

As bird’s-eye view maps declined in popularity during the early 20th century, artists incorporated technical advances in hopes of reversing the trend.


View of East Haddam. Connecticut. And Goodspeed's Landing

A Bird’s-eye View of East Haddam

In 1880, East Haddam was already a popular tourist destination and, despite its small size, boasted two steamboat landings to accommodate visitors.


Video – When Disaster Struck: The 1938 Hurricane, Part 2

The CPTV Original, When Disaster Struck Connecticut, provides an in-depth look at the four major natural disasters that befell Connecticut between 1888 and 1955.


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