News & Updates

Education/Instrucción Combats Housing Discrimination

September 26, 2022 • Law, Hartford, Social Movements

This group’s bilingual name reflected its educational mission as well as its dedication to unified, multicultural cooperation for the common good.

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The Clam Box, postcard by Cliff Scofield, ca. 1950s

Lobsters and Oysters and Clams: A Short History of Seafood in Connecticut

The ocean’s bounty has been savored along the Connecticut coastline for as long as humans have been around to bring it on shore.

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Guyton flying the V-173, November 23, 1942

Boone Guyton Tested the Limits of World-Famous Aircraft

Boone Guyton was one of the most prolific test pilots…

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Connecticut Pin Makers

For the latter half of the 19th century and for much of the 20th, Connecticut led the nation in pin production.

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The Smith-Worthington Saddle Company

Saddles Fit For a Shah

Since 1794, Hartford-based Smith-Worthington Saddlery has made tack for horses—along with the occasional ostrich harness and space suit prototype.

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Piling sandbags, Colt dike

The Hurricane of 1938 Rocks Connecticut

Together the combination of chance and human error produced the most destructive hurricane in Connecticut’s history.

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Early letter penned by P.T. Barnum referencing his lottery

P. T. Barnum’s Lottery

Known for entertainment, this showman gained experience in engaging the public, and profiting from it, by running a lottery in Bethel.

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American Mills Web Shop, West Haven

Elastic Web Expands Textile Manufacturing in West Haven

For the better part of a century, West Haven produced…

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Map – Connecticut Landmarks of the Constitution

A map of some of the Connecticut Landmarks of the Constitution researched and published by the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.

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Computer generation of a hurricane over the northeast United States

Hurricane Gloria: “Storm of the Century”

September 16, 2022 • Enfield, Disaster, Middletown, Milford, Stonington, Weather

In September of 1985, Hurricane Gloria made landfall in Connecticut, causing approximately $60 million of damage in the state.

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Picking Tobacco in the Connecticut River Valley

Literacy Tests and the Right To Vote

Connecticut was the first state to require a literacy test of would-be voters and, even as the practice came under fire as a tool of discrimination, the state held steady until 1970.

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Newspaper coupon with a decorative border and a drawing of a baby in the middle

Birthplace of the Gerber Baby – Who Knew?

Westport’s artist Dorothy Hope Smith used her neighbor, Ann Turner, as inspiration for her iconic Gerber Baby trademark drawing.

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Black and white photograph of a large ship next to a dock full of hundreds of people. There are people standing on the ship and streamers coming off the boat

Helen James Chisholm: A Hartford Teacher in Hawaii

Originally from Hartford, Helen James Chisholm’s career took her all the way to the Pacific to teach and run an orphanage.

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FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitive poster of Victor Manuel Gerena

Financing a Free Puerto Rico: The Great Wells Fargo Heist of 1983

On September 12, 1983, an employee at the Wells Fargo depot in West Hartford, Connecticut, committed what was, at the time, the largest cash robbery in American history.

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Historic photo of the Ebenezer Avery House, Groton

The Ebenezer Avery House – Who Knew?

…that the Ebenezer Avery House on the grounds of Fort…

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Blue background with a seal in the middle. Banner under the seal with Latin words.

Connecticut’s Official State Flag – Who Knew?

While Connecticut used variations of flags for state functions, the legislature did not adopt an official state flag until 1897.

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Murphy Terminal, 1952

Bradley Field Enters the Jet Age

September 8, 2022 • Transportation, Windsor Locks

In 1952 a state-of-the-art terminal building, Murphy Terminal, was opened in the spirit of “if you build it, they will come.”

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Two women sliding on a toboggan down a ramp. There is the remnants of snow on the ground.

Trumbull’s Parlor Rock Park: A Premier Amusement Center of the Late 19th Century

In Trumbull, the arrival of the Housatonic Railroad brought a lesser known but more entertaining development—one of the country’s first amusement parks.

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Benedict Arnold

Benedict Arnold Turns and Burns New London

September 6, 1781 was a brutal and terrifying day for Connecticut citizens living on both sides of New London harbor, along the Thames River.

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Greased pole, Labor Day picnic, Colt Park, Hartford

Labor Day at the Turn of the 20th Century

In February of 1889, the Connecticut General Assembly passed a…

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Morton Biskind Warned the World About DDT

September 4, 2022 • Environment, Health and Medicine, Westport

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.

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Map showing a newly laid road in relationship to the Talcott Mountain Turnpike

Early Turnpikes Provided Solution to Lack of Reliable Roads

September 3, 2022 • Avon, Transportation

Although few of the privately managed toll-roads of the 1800s proved profitable for investors, state commerce benefited in the long run.

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Newspaper clipping from 1898

At the Sign of the Yellow Dragon: Hartford’s First Chinese Restaurants

The first Chinese restaurant opened in Hartford in 1898 and evolved as immigrants from different parts of China introduced new tastes.

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John Warner Barber, South view of the Hempstead house, New London, 1836

Joshua Hempsted Born – Today in History: September 1

September 1, 2022 • Everyday Life, New London

On September 1, 1678, Joshua Hempsted was born in New…

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The Hermitage, Peter's Rock

Peter’s Rock: North Haven History with a View

Peter’s Rock, reaching a height of 373 feet above sea…

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Two Days After Marriage

Grounds for Divorce – Who Knew?

August 30, 2022 • Everyday Life, Law, Who Knew?

… that in 1667 the colony of Connecticut passed the…

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Two women sitting on the steps of a building

Rewriting the Norm: How Two East Haddam Women Revolutionized Nonsexist Language

East Haddam’s Casey Miller and Kate Swift were both outspoken advocates for eradicating gender bias in the English language.

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Fitch’s Home for Soldiers, ca. 1864

Fitch Soldiers’ Home Closes – Today in History: August 28

August 28, 2022 • Darien, Rocky Hill, War and Defense

On August 28, 1940, Fitch’s Home for Soldiers and their…

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Billings & Spencer Company

Christopher Miner Spencer, 19th-century Arms Manufacturer

A well-known American inventor in his day, this Manchester native obtained 42 patents during his lifetime and created the first successful breech-loading repeating rifle.

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Map shows the neighborhood where the murder took place

Murder on the Map: The Mysterious Death of Captain George M. Colvocoresses

At first glance, this hand-drawn map appears unremarkable but it depicts the scene of a sensational crime in Bridgeport.

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State Representative William A. O'Neill and State Senator David M. Barry

William O’Neill: Climbing Up the Political Ladder

Connecticut’s 84th governor, William Atchison O’Neill, was born in Hartford on…

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Front facade of a multi-story building with three arches over doorways.

Connecticut’s First Mutual Savings Bank Opens in Hartford

On June 1, 1819, Governor Oliver Wolcott Jr. approved a legislative charter for the Society for Savings in Hartford—the first mutual savings bank in the state.

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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.

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A small building on the back of a trailer. Two men are walking beside the building

The Connecticut Houses that Ended Up in Massachusetts

Old Sturbridge Village moved numerous historical CT buildings, but evidence of their existence still lives on in historic maps, photographs, and memories.

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Elisha K Root, President of Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company

Elisha Root Changes Industry – Who Knew?

…that  Elisha Root invented die casting that revolutionized the mechanization…

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Envelope of the Briggs Manufacturing Company

Briggs Manufacturing Drives Voluntown’s 19th-Century Cotton Economy

The Briggs Manufacturing Company was the premier employer in Voluntown,…

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Detail of the Bethany Airport Hanger from the Aerial survey of Connecticut 1934

A Busy Airfield in Bethany

In 1920, a small airplane landed in a flat, open…

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Suffragette Helena Hill Weed of Norwalk, serving a 3 day sentence in D.C. prison for picketing July 4, 1917

19th Amendment: The Fight Over Woman Suffrage in Connecticut

The 19th Amendment to the Constitution guarantees all women who…

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Shaker advertisement to board horses, 1884

Enfield’s Shaker Legacy

Shaking Quakers settled in Enfield and created the packaged seed business.

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Drawing of a town common with a church on the right side, a building in the center and a couple buildings on the left. There are a few trees and a few people

Lee’s Academy: An Icon of Education for 200 Years

For over two hundred years, Lee’s Academy has been a staple of education in Madison, Connecticut.

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Putting History on the Map

While maps serve a utilitarian function at the time of their production, years later they become snapshots in time as displays of the personal and collective memories of those who designed them. Such is the case with maps drawn by James Wadsworth and Douglas Grant Mitchell.

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A Metal Giant in Wilton

August 14, 2022 • Arts, Business and Industry, Wilton, Work

By Gregg Mangan Kenneth Lynch was an accomplished blacksmith who…

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Shelf clock by Eli Terry

The Life of Chauncey Jerome: An Insider’s Look at What Made Early Bristol Tick

A glimpse at clock making in Connecticut from Chauncey Jerome’s 1860 autobiography

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Grey plaque dedicated to Moses Wheeler with the names of the Connecticut governor and state highway commissioner in 1962

Moses Wheeler: Legendary Housatonic Ferryman

Moses Wheeler carried passengers across the Housatonic River as the operator of the first ferry from Stratford to Milford—over 350 years ago.

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Federal Correctional Institution, Danbury

Danbury Prison Protest – Today in History: August 11

On August 11, 1943, conscientious objectors and other prisoners staged…

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Blue button with a tan colored moose profile with the word "progressive" over the moose

The Bull Moose Party in Connecticut

Connecticut expressed a brief interest in Theodore Roosevelt’s third-party, the “Bull Moose Party,” but the loss of the 1912 election proved career-ending for many candidates.

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Florence Griswold’s Home: A Story of Perseverance and Community

The Florence Griswold House, once a private residence, also served as a finishing school for girls in the 19th century and the center of the Lyme Art Colony.

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U.S. Frigate Constitution, Isaac Hull, Esqr., commander

Fame and Infamy for the Hulls of Derby

Two Connecticut men, uncle and nephew, had starring roles—one in defeat and one in victory—during the War of 1812.

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Westford Glass Company factory, Ashford

Ashford’s Glass from the Past

In 1857, 13 stockholders invested $18,000 to form the Westford…

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