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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.

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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…

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History Day 2022 Debate and Diplomacy

Connecticut History Day 2022: Debate & Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences

Both successes and failures in the execution of debate and diplomacy lay behind some of the most monumental events in Connecticut’s history.

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Lake Pocotopaug, East Hampton

Lake Pocotopaug Shapes the Growth of East Hampton

East Hampton is home to one of Connecticut’s largest inland…

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Roger Tory Peterson, European starlings

Artist Roger Tory Peterson, a Champion for the Natural World

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

“The philosophy that I have worked under most of my life is that the serious study of natural history is an activity which has far-reaching effects in every aspect of a person’s life,” said Roger Tory Peterson, an artist, author, and influential conservationist whose own life epitomized this belief.

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Candlewood Lake construction

Creating Candlewood Lake – Today in History: July 15

On July 15, 1926, Connecticut Light & Power Company’s board…

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Eight Mile River

Continuity and Change along the Eightmile River

July 9, 2021 • Environment, Lyme, Salem

The history of the Eightmile River, nearly one-third of which…

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

Abundant Wildlife Drives the History of Rocky Neck State Park

Rocky Neck State Park is located on Long Island Sound…

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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—but it was almost plowed under in the 1970s!

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Gifford Pinchot, ca. 1890-1910

Gifford Pinchot: Bridging Two Eras of National Conservation

“The conservation of natural resources is the basis, and the only permanent basis, of national success,” wrote this Connecticut-born forester who oversaw the rapid expansion of national forest land holdings in the early 1900s.

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Litchfield’s Revolutionary War Soldiers’ Tree

The first Arbor Day was held on April 10, 1872, and became an international event 11 years later when Birdsley Northrup of Kent, Connecticut, introduced the concept to Japan.

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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.

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The Blizzard of 1978

Blizzard Halts Mail Delivery – Today in History: February 7

February 7, 2021 • Environment, Weather

On February 7, 1978, the US Postal Service was unable…

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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.

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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.

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Spillway and bridge near Saville Dam, Barkhamsted

Barkhamsted Reservoir Construction Washes Away a Community

The Barkhamsted Reservoir is the primary water supply for the…

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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.

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Pachaug Trail, Wiclcabouet Marsh, Voluntown

The Story of Connecticut’s Largest State Forest

Pachaug State Forest is the largest state forest in Connecticut….

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

One of Connecticut’s worst steamboat disasters occurred on the dark…

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Morton Biskind Warned the World About DDT

September 28, 2020 • 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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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.

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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.

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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. The cold weather decimated harvests and encouraged many residents to head West into the area of modern Ohio.

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Flood damage to railroad tracks, Derby, 1955

Hurricanes Connie & Diane Deliver Double Hit – Who Knew?

…that Hurricanes Connie and Diane, which struck within days of…

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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.

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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…

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Julian Alden Weir, The Farm, etching

Weir Farm the Result of a Trade – Who Knew?

 …that Weir Farm located in Ridgefield and Wilton, Connecticut resulted…

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Hammonasset Beach State Park

Hammonasset State Park Serves the State and its Residents

Hammonasset State Park is Connecticut’s largest shoreline park. Located in…

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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.

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Moodus, Town of East Haddam

Largest Earthquake in Connecticut – Today in History: May 16

On May 16, 1791, the largest earthquake to shake Connecticut…

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Connecticut River, 2011

The Connecticut River

The Connecticut River is the longest river in New England….

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A Woman Ahead of Her Time: Mabel Osgood Wright

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

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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.

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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.

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The Van Vleck Observatory: A Reflection of Environmental Conditions

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.

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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

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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.

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Sleeping Giant, Mount Carmel, Hamden

A Volcanic Giant Sleeps in Hamden

The town of Hamden lies between two trap rock formations…

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Connecticut River, 2011

Old Saybrook Faces Down Threats to Its Water Supply

The town of Old Saybrook lies at the mouth of…

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

Talcott Mountain: A View of Early New England

August 2, 2019 • Avon, Environment, Everyday Life

The Talcott Mountain range lies in the northeastern section of…

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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 for public enjoyment as the parks movement took hold in the state.

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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.

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Elizabeth Park, Hartford

Oldest Rose Garden – Who Knew?

…that the Elizabeth Park Rose Garden in Hartford is the…

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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.

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Video – Hidden History: Bushnell Park

Your Town’s History in Video: Bushnell Park

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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. This clip of archival sources and eyewitness accounts paints a vivid picture of how Connecticut residents coped with the Flood of 1936. The flood stands as the worst natural disaster to ever hit Hartford and the other towns that lie along the Connecticut River.

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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. This clip of archival sources and eyewitness accounts paints a vivid picture of how Connecticut residents coped with the Flood of 1936. The flood stands as the worst natural disaster to ever hit Hartford and the other towns that lie along the Connecticut River.

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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…

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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. This clip of archival sources and eyewitness accounts paints a vivid picture of how Connecticut residents coped with the 1938 Hurricane.

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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 mark this area’s reputation as one of the finest fly fishing locales in the Northeast.

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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.

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Video – Hidden History: Keney Tower

Your Town’s History in Video: Keney Tower

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Bridgeport, Conn., 1882

A Bird’s-eye View of Bridgeport

The lower perspective of this 1882 example is somewhat atypical of most of the bird’s-eye views of the era, but its emphasis on industrial accomplishment is a hallmark of the genre.

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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.

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The Socially Dynamic Drumlin of Foss Hill

February 16, 2016 • 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.

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MT. Higby Reservoir

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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 the early 19th century the Connecticut River was an…

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Designed to Heal: The Connecticut General Hospital for the Insane

The design of this state facility in Middletown reflects 19th-century beliefs about the environment’s ability to influence mental health.

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Map detail of H. Knecht, View of New Britain, Conn.

A Bird’s-eye View of New Britain

By depicting Walnut Hill Park and Reservoir, which was a new addition to the city at the time, this 19th-century print documented the growing public parks movement of the era.

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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.

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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.”

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The Surprising Prevalence of Earthquake Activity in Connecticut

Connecticut has experienced thousands of earthquakes since European settled the area. The most active site for seismic activity is the village of Moodus in East Haddam.

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Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Bethel

Map – Sanborn Fire Insurance Map for Bethel, Fairfield County

November 16, 2014 • Bethel, Environment

Developed in Europe in the late 1700s, fire insurance maps…

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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.

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Map detail of Broad Brook, Conn.

A Bird’s-eye View of Broad Brook

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Barkhamsted Hollow Church

A Valley Flooded to Slake the Capital Region’s Thirst

From 1927 until 1948, the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC), using…

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Circus Parade, Main Street, Hartford

A Legacy of Thriving Cities 1905

The turn of the century brought a sharp rise in…

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View of the New Haven Green

A Puritan Landscape New Haven Town Green

On April 24, 1638 Rev. John Davenport and Theophilus Eaton…

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Elm Arcade, Temple Street, New Haven

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

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

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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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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.

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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.

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Nuclear power plant, Haddam Neck

Connecticut Yankee Brings Power to the People

For nearly 30 years the Connecticut Yankee Atomic Power Company…

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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. This clip of archival sources and eyewitness accounts paints a vivid picture of how Connecticut residents coped with the 1938 Hurricane.

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Alain and May White Memorial Boulder

Alain and May White Memorial Boulder

August 26, 2013 • Environment, Litchfield

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

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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. This clip of archival sources and eyewitness accounts paints a vivid picture of how Connecticut residents coped with “The Flood of 1955” in the wake of Hurricanes Connie and Diane.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. This video incorporates historic photos and footage as Hines traces Pinchot’s colorful life including his friendships with John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt.

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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. This is in direct contradiction to a persistent myth of colonialism: that European settlers encountered a virgin landscape free of human intervention and ripe for development.

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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.

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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.

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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. This clip of archival sources and eyewitness accounts paints a vivid picture of how Connecticut residents coped with the 1938 Hurricane.

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Columbite

The Industrial Might of Connecticut Pegmatite

Mining for grit and sparkle.

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