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Everyday Life


Portrait of Dr. Charles Johnson

Hartford’s Great Migration through Charles S. Johnson’s Eyes

During the Great Migration of the early 1900s, African Americans from the rural South relocated to Hartford and other Northern cities in search of better prospects.

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Little Bethel AME Church, 44 Lake Avenue, Greenwich

Site Lines: Fortresses of Faith, Agents of Change

Black churches, including the earliest ones in Connecticut, have long been at the forefront in the battle for social progress and equality.

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History in a Heart

February 12, 2021 • Hide Featured Image, Everyday Life, Women

A set of old Valentine’s Day cards, kept safe in a cloth-covered scrapbook, provide a look back at the sometimes humorous art of expressing heartfelt sentiments.

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Advertisement from The Hartford Daily Courant, October 8, 1852

Augustus Washington (1820 – 1875): African American Daguerreotypist

Though his work depicts people of different classes and cultures, ironically, no portraits of African Americans survive from his years in Hartford.

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Laboring in the Shade

Thousands of black Southern students, including a young Martin Luther King Jr., came north to work in Connecticut’s tobacco fields.

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Richard Yates

Trouble in the Connecticut Suburbs: Revolutionary Road

In Richard Yates’s 1961 book Revolutionary Road, living in the Connecticut suburbs is held up as the ultimate badge of success.

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Anna Louise James behind the soda fountain in the James' pharmacy

Anna Louise James Makes History with Medicine

Anna Louise James was born on January 19, 1886, in…

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South view of the Hempstead House, New London

The Joshua Hempsted Diary: A Window into Colonial Connecticut

January 16, 2021 • Everyday Life, New London

This accomplished New London resident chronicled his daily life over a 47-year period from 1711 to 1758.

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The Great Remedy. Hand-colored lithograph by E.B. & E.C. Kellogg

The Great Remedy: Picturing the Emancipation Proclamation

On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, declaring more than three million African Americans in those states in rebellion against the United States to be forever free.

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Illumination of Old State House, Hartford, December 31, 1900

A Turn-of-the-Century New Year’s Eve

December 31, 2020 • Everyday Life, Hartford, New Britain, Windham

Hailed as the “Century Celebration,” the evening of December 31,…

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The Living Actually Haunted Many Connecticut Taverns – Who Knew?

Early Connecticut laws deemed anyone who spent excessive time in taverns as a “tavern haunter” and subjected them to fines and ridicule.

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Wagonload of Christmas trees, Hartford

O Christmas Tree!

December 25, 2020 • Belief, Everyday Life, Hartford, Popular Culture

On Thursday morning, December 25, 1890, The Hartford Courant reported…

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Detail of the South Part of New London Co.

The Rogerenes Leave Their Mark on Connecticut Society

December 23, 2020 • Belief, Everyday Life, Ledyard, Waterford

A refusal to compromise became the governing principle of this religious group active in the New London area for some 200 years.

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Girl’s Stays

Little Nutmeggers: Four Centuries of Children’s Clothes and Games

December 19, 2020 • Everyday Life

Modes of dress and means of play for youngsters reflect more than changing tastes; they reveal shifts in societal attitudes toward the pre-adult years.

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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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American Cookery, or, The Art of Dressing Viands, Fish, Poultry, and Vegetables by Amelia Simmons

Amelia Simmons Adds a Uniquely American Flavor to Cooking

In 1796, Amelia Simmons authored American Cookery—believed to be the first cookbook authored by an American published in the United States.

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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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An Oyster Supper

Any Month with an “R” in It: Eating Oysters in Connecticut

Lack of refrigeration and higher bacteria counts in tidal waters once made summer months a dangerous time to eat oysters.

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Results of Halloween pranks, Windsor

Past Hallowe’en Pranks Bemused Some and Frustrated Others

October 31, 2020 • Everyday Life, Popular Culture, Windsor

Jack o’ lanterns, cider, masquerades, witches, and ghosts—many of the…

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Gravestones, Old Burying Ground, Hartford

The Art of Burying the Dead: Exploring Connecticut’s Historic Cemeteries

From winged death’s heads to weeping willows, gravestone carvings in Connecticut’s historic cemeteries reflect changing attitudes toward mourning and memorialization.

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Vegetable cart in Charles Street Market, Hartford

Hartford’s “Little Italy”

October 6, 2020 • Everyday Life, Immigration, Hartford

In the early 1900s, Italians made new lives for themselves in Hartford.

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Indian Hill Cemetery and the Vernacular of the Times

Indian Hill Cemetery’s founders promoted their property as a place to find peace, both with the natural environment and with the area’s indigenous past.

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University of Connecticut, Commencement

UConn and the Evolution of a Public University

September 28, 2020 • Education, Everyday Life, Mansfield

From farming and war work to physics and sports, the University of Connecticut has diversified over the years and become New England’s leading public university.

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President Richard Nixon visits Hartford

The 42-Day Income Tax

In 1971, to eliminate the state’s budget deficit, Connecticut legislators approved a tax on income. Just forty-two days later, they repealed it, instead voting to increase the state’s sales tax.

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Battle Flag Parade, Hartford, Connecticut, September 17, 1879

A Day of Celebration – Today in History: September 17

September 17, 1879 was a day of celebration in the City of Hartford when more than 100,000 people came to the city to celebrate Battle Flag Day with a grand parade and celebration of Connecticut’s Civil War veterans.

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

Joshua Hempsted Born – Today in History: September 1

September 1, 2020 • Everyday Life, New London

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

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Poli's Palace Theatre, Waterbury

Sylvester Poli, Negotiating Cultural Politics in an Age of Immigration

This Italian-born businessman and New England theater magnate also helped the working poor in New Haven’s immigrant communities at the turn of the 20th century.

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Pier at Savin Rock, West Haven, 1905

Savin Rock Park: “Connecticut’s Coney Island”

Savin Rock Park was a seaside resort constructed in the…

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Frame for Indian round house

Living Rituals: Mohegan Wigwam Festival

The Wigwam festival is a modern version of the ancient Mohegan Thanksgiving for the Corn Harvest, or Green Corn Festival.

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Connecticut History Day 2021: Communication in History

The of exchange of words, thoughts, and ideas also lay behind some of the most monumental events that happened right here in Connecticut

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Detail from a New York Times article August 11, 1886

The Shoe Box Murder Mystery

On the morning of August 8, 1886, on a walk through the Parker farm district of Wallingford, Edward Terrill and his dog uncovered what appeared to be a box of a dozen shoes that had recently fallen from a cart.

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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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Two Days After Marriage

Grounds for Divorce – Who Knew?

June 25, 2020 • Everyday Life, Law, Who Knew?

… that in 1667 the colony of Connecticut passed the…

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Oakdale Musical Theatre, Wallingford

The Story of the Oakdale Makes Great Theater

The legendary Oakdale Theater in Wallingford reflects over 60 years…

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Eolia, Harkness Memorial State Park, Waterford

Harkness Memorial Park Offers a Glimpse into Early 20th Century Wealth

Harkness Memorial Park is a beautifully landscaped recreation area along…

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The Newsies Strike Back

Despite organizing in 1909 to fight pay cuts, ultimately, vending machines and changing business models brought an end to the era of the Hartford newsie.

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Exterior of the Connecticut State Building

Take Me to the Fair: Connecticut Exhibits at the International Expositions

Connecticut took part in many of the great World’s Fairs, especially those held in North America.

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Connecticut River, 2011

The Connecticut River

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

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The Hartford Wheel Club, Hartford

The Hartford Wheel Club: Disparity in the Gilded Age

Despite the wealth found in some sections of the city, the economic volatility of the Gilded Age produced hard times for residents of Hartford.

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Child Labor in Connecticut

While Connecticut proved to be one of the more progressive states when it came to child labor laws, it still took federal legislation to protect children in the workplace.

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Connecticut: Home to the Boxcar Children Mysteries – Who Knew?

…that Gertrude Chandler Warner, a lifelong resident of Putnam, Connecticut, authored the popular series The Boxcar Children Mysteries?

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Advertising card of the Dr. Warner’s Caroline Corset

From Bombs to Bras: World War I Conservation Measures Transform the Lives of Women

A shortage of metal during World War I encouraged women’s clothing manufacturers (such as Bridgeport’s Warner Brothers Corset Company) to switch from producing corsets to brassieres.

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St. Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland

The Wearing of the Green: 19th-century Prints of Irish Subjects by Hartford’s Kellogg Brothers

Irish immigrants arrived in Connecticut in great numbers during the 1800s and, while anti-Irish sentiment was widespread, Hartford’s Kellogg brothers viewed these new Americans as potential customers.

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View of Wadsworth Street in 1877

The Lives of Addie Brown and Rebecca Primus Told Through their Loving Letters

Addie Brown and Rebecca Primus were two free Black women whose lives intersected in Hartford, Connecticut in the 19th century. Letters written between them imply their relationship was more than friendship.

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Illustration of Hebron by John Warner Barber

Changing Sentiments on Slavery in Colonial Hebron

Residents of Hebron rescued local slaves Lowis and Cesar Peters, and their children, from South Carolina slave traders. After emancipation, the rescued family became farmers in town.

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Racial Change Map displaying the Non-White Population in 1970

How Real Estate Practices Influenced the Hartford Region’s Demographic Makeup

February 3, 2020 • Bloomfield, Everyday Life, Law, Hartford

Persistent segregation is the historic legacy of steering and blockbusting, two discriminatory tactics that played a role in shaping suburban neighborhoods.

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Portrait of James Mars

1850s Equal Rights Activist James Mars

James Mars was born into slavery in Connecticut in 1790….

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Advertisement for Isaac Doolittle's bell foundry

Early Church Bell Founders

Church bells served many important functions in early New England. Consequently, skilled bellfounders in Connecticut found themselves in high demand.

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Attributed to Osbert Burr Loomis, Nancy Toney, oil on canvas

Nancy Toney’s Lifetime in Slavery

From scant evidence, including a portrait, gravestone, census data, and will, a partial image of a Connecticut life lived in slavery emerges.

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Boot Blacks and the Struggle to Survive in Hartford

January 17, 2020 • Everyday Life, Hartford, Work

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, young boys who shined shoes (sometimes 70 hours per week) were the primary breadwinners for many struggling families.

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Ice Skates, ca. 1965

Skating Through Winter

By the 1850s, better-designed skates and interest in healthful outdoor activities made ice skating an increasingly popular leisure activity.

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Late 19th century Christmas postcards

Sending Season’s Greetings: Christmas Cards in Connecticut

For nearly a decade, this little Connecticut town was renowned as the Christmas-card center of the world.

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Advertising leaflet for the "Cal" Pistol, J. & E. Stevens Co., Cromwell

Cromwell’s Iron Men Made Toys for Boys and Girls

When John and Elisha Stevens formed the J & E…

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Sign for the Temperance Hotel, ca. 1826-1842

The Slow Demise of Prohibition in Wilton

In Connecticut, the state places certain restrictions on the sale…

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Goshen Animal Pound, circa 1800

Goshen’s Animal Pound

Livestock were once a central feature and concern of daily life for Litchfield County residents.

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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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Broadside announcing changes to Mansfield's Poor-House

Connecticut Poor Law Aimed to Care for the Needy

Connecticut instituted a Poor Law in the 17th century to comply with a directive from the British government that the colony ensure for the care of the poor within its borders

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Connecticut Residents Did Not Let Veterans Day “Go Commercial.”

Despite passage of the federal Uniform Holiday Bill in 1968, Connecticut residents were largely reluctant to move Veterans Day observances from November 11.

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Scandal in the Beecher Family

An alleged affair between Elizabeth Tilton and Henry Ward Beecher became public in 1872 and inspired a series of lawsuits for libel. The incident involved one of the state’s most respected citizens and religious leaders and attracted national attention.

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Illustration of "The Connecticut Courant", Oct. 29, 1764

The Oldest Continuously Published Newspaper – Today in History: October 29

On October 29, 1764, New Haven printer Thomas Green established…

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The Caribbean American Society float in the West Indian Parade

West Indians in Hartford

October 27, 2019 • Arts, Everyday Life, Hartford

A significant wave of immigration to the United States from the West Indies began in the 1940s, spurred by labor shortages during World War II.

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Nutrition class, Connecticut Agricultural College

From Aprons to Lab Coats: The Art and Science of Home Economics

In 1893 the Storrs Agricultural College (the precursor to the University of Connecticut) began training women in domestic science, the discipline that would later be called home economics.

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North Stonington Grange, North Stonington Village Historic Distric

North Stonington Fairs Preserve Connecticut’s Agricultural Heritage

Despite brief success as a mill town in the early…

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Hidden Nearby: The Bantam Lake Ice House

In the days before refrigerators, Bantam Lake served a vital function as a supplier of ice that local residents used to preserve food when temperatures began to rise.

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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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Margaret Rudkin

Pepperidge Farm Opens Bakery – Today in History: July 4

On July 4, 1947, Margaret Rudkin of Fairfield opened a…

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Mark Twain House & Museum, Hartford

Where Mr. Twain and Mrs. Stowe Built Their Dream Houses

This bucolic oasis on Hartford’s western edge became home to great literary talents, social reformers, politicians, and other nationally-regarded luminaries of the mid-to-late 1800s.

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Carter’s Inn sign

Tavern Signs Mark Changes in Travel, Innkeeping, and Artistic Practice

June 3, 2019 • Arts, Everyday Life, Food and Drink

In colonial times, tavern signs beckoned weary travelers to places of rest and entertainment, but by the early 1900s collectors prized them as folk art and relics of a bygone era.

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Timeline: Settlement of the Colony of Connecticut

A timeline displaying the major events leading to Connecticut statehood, including its settlement by the Dutch, the origins of Hartford, Wethersfield, and Windsor, the founding of the Connecticut, New Haven, and Saybrook colonies, and Connecticut’s acquisition of a formal charter from England.

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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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Hitchcock chairs

Built on Innovation, Saved by Nostalgia: Hitchcock Chair Company

In the 1820s Lambert Hitchcock adapted mass production concepts pioneered in the clock-making field to chair manufacture.

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Leatherman in Wallingford, 1880s

The Old Leatherman Alive in Our Memories

This enigmatic, solitary figure has captured the public imagination since the mid-1800s when he began walking a 365-mile interstate loop over and over again.

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Combined Telegraph Key and Sounder

Learning about the Lusitania: How Hartford Heard the News

May 7, 2019 • Disaster, Everyday Life

Citizens turned to outdoor bulletin boards, city bus drivers, and other lines of communication to get the latest news on the fate of the ship’s passengers.

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Re-creating Our National Pastime

In an era before the Internet, television, or even live…

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20th-century photograph of shad nets

A Tale of Shad, the State Fish

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

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Anna Louise James seated, with a cat on her lap

Miss James, First Woman Pharmacist in CT Right in Old Saybrook

Remembering Anna Louise James, the first woman pharmacist in the state of Connecticut.

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Ice Skates, ca. 1965

Skating Through Winter

By the 1850s, better-designed skates and interest in healthful outdoor activities made ice skating an increasingly popular leisure activity.

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Wethersfield's four-wheeled combination hook, ladder and bucket carrier

Connecticut’s Oldest Fire Department

November 16, 2018 • Everyday Life, Wethersfield, Work

The Wethersfield Volunteer Fire Department is the oldest continually operated…

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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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School children placing flowers on the graves of World War I servicemen

Memorial Day 1920 Brings a Changing of the Guard

In 1920, veterans groups played an active role in orchestrating…

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Today in Connecticut History

“Today in Connecticut History” is a collaboration between the Office…

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Segregation Picket line-Noah Webster School, Hartford

Black History Resources

February 1, 2018 • Everyday Life, Social Movements, Women

Dr. Carter G. Woodson, known as the “Father of Black…

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US Post Office, 1946, Bethlehem

Connecticut’s Christmas Town

Nestled in a quiet section of Litchfield County lies the picturesque town of Bethlehem, known best for its designation as “Connecticut’s Christmas Town.”

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Platter with View of New Haven Green

Setting the Table in Historic Style: Connecticut Views on Staffordshire China

November 26, 2017 • Everyday Life, Food and Drink

Engravings of Hartford, Daniel Wadsworth’s estate, the New Haven Green, and other sites around the state adorned British chinaware made for the US market.

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The Colt's Manufacturing Company float for the parade dedicating the Bulkeley Bridge, October 7th, 1908

Hartford’s Industrial Day – Today in History: October 7

Hartford celebrated the 1908 opening of the Bulkeley Bridge with…

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An illustration from A Sketch of the life, trial, and execution of Oliver Watkins

Connecticut Draws the Curtain on Public Executions

Brooklyn’s status as county seat in 1831 resulted in the…

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Fourth of July celebration, Woodstock, 1870

President Grant Celebrates Independence Day in Woodstock – Today in History: July 4

July 4, 2017 • Everyday Life, Woodstock

On July 4, 1870, President Ulysses S. Grant attended Independence…

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Video – Hidden History: Bushnell Park

Your Town’s History in Video: Bushnell Park

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Playing with Time: The Introduction of Daylight Saving Time in Connecticut

Despite both formal and informal attempts to regulate the observance of Daylight Savings Time in Connecticut, it still remains a controversial topic for many state residents.

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Advertising label for Fine Old Bourbon Whiskey, 1855

Video: No Booze for You – Who Knew?

During Prohibition, many Connecticut residents found it easy to obtain alcohol illegally, though violations of Prohibition led to an increase in violent crime.

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Governor Wilbur L. Cross

Video: 1938 Thanksgiving Proclamation

Connecticut Governor Wilbur L. Cross reading his 1938 Thanksgiving Proclamation to his cabinet. This was the first sound film ever made featuring a Governor of Connecticut.

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Gershom Bartlett, Winged Face

The Art of Life and Death in Colonial Bolton

October 21, 2016 • Bolton, Arts, Belief, Everyday Life

A number of prominent artists called Bolton home in the…

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Map of the Freedom Trail Sites

Site Lines: Connecticut’s Freedom Trail

Sites along the Connecticut Freedom Trail mark key events in the quest to achieve freedom and social equality for African Americans in the state.

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A Pie Tin’s Soaring Sales

Tins used to hold pies at William Frisbie’s pie company in Bridgeport in the late 1800s reportedly provided the inspiration for Wham-O’s most popular toy, the Frisbee.

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Video – William Gillette’s Railroad

YouTube – CT Department of Energy & Environmental Protection Actor…

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The White Mountain Express, traveling 50 miles per hour went off the track in Greenwich

The White Mountain Express Derails in Greenwich

July 16, 2016 • Disaster, Everyday Life, Greenwich

On July 16, 1908, the gong of the ambulances on Greenwich Avenue broadcast one of the worst accidents on the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad.

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Summer Hot Spots of Yesteryear

Sun, sand, amusements, and more lured residents and visitors alike to these destinations, many of which are still popular getaways.

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Greenwich Emergency Responders: On the Move Overtime

Horses, motorcycles, and boats are just a few of the modes of transportation that town emergency personnel have used over the years to get to where they’re needed.

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Defenders of the Flag Monument, Soldiers Monument, Plainville

A Special Place to Honor Military Veterans in Plainville

On the corner of Maple and Whiting Streets in Plainville,…

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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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Food Needed to Win the War Comes from Washington

During World War I, the Town of Washington instituted a number of programs to increase food production and preservation to feed Allied armies and the European people,

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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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Billhead and bill from John Olmsted.

An Inconvenient Season: Charlotte Cowles’s Letters from December 1839

Letters between a sister in Farmington and a brother in Hartford reveal details about daily life at a time when the distance between the two communities wasn’t so easily travelled.

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Main Street, During Fair Week

The Great Danbury State Fair & Early 20th-Century Outdoor Advertising

In 1909, the Danbury Agricultural Society called attention to its upcoming fair in a most creative manner.

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Indian Hill Cemetery and the Landscaping of Burial Grounds in the Mid-19th Century

The landscaping of Indian Hill Cemetery speaks to 19th-century reactions to industrialization and urbanization and the search for peaceful natural environments.

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Wesleyan Hills Helps Redefine Suburbia

The design of the Wesleyan Hills community in Middletown, Connecticut, stands in stark contrast to the uninspiring, cookie-cutter suburbs of the Post-World War II era.

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Wallace Nutting, The Shadow of the Blossoms

Past Perfect: Wallace Nutting Invents an Ideal Olde New England

In the early 1900s consumers bought photographs, furniture, and books from a former minister who skillfully sold the fantasy of simpler times as an antidote to modern life.

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Preserving an All-American Downtown in Torrington

Torrington is a city aware of its architectural heritage. Its…

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Louis’ Lunch eatery at its original location on George Street

Louis’ Lunch and the Birth of the Hamburger

In 1900, in answer to a customer’s rush order for something “quick and delicious,” Louis Lassen of New Haven served up a meal that is credited as being the first hamburger.

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Thomas Darling House and Tavern, Woodbridge

The Darlings Make Preservation a Family Affair

Thomas Darling was an 18th-century merchant, farmer, and politician and…

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Photograph of the Hartford Dark Blues

Diamonds of the Past: Hartford’s Lost Ball Parks

Erected in 1874, Hartford’s earliest baseball stadium was the Base Ball Grounds in Colt Park, on the corner of Wyllys Street and Hendricxsen Avenue.

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George Washington Slept Here

George Washington Slept Here (Just Perhaps Not Well)

Within the heritage tourism industry, it is not uncommon to…

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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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Jared Eliot

Jared Eliot Calls on Colonists to Change their Agricultural Practices

In 1760, this Killingworth minister and farmer published the first agricultural advice book in the British American colonies.

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Detail of a bed curtain attributed to Priscilla Kingsbury

The Decorative Arts of Connecticut

April 3, 2015 • Eli Terry, Arts, Everyday Life

Decorative Arts—or, household furnishings— reveal past lifestyles and showcase the state’s best-known craftspeople.

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Steamer City of Hartford

A Night to Remember: When the Steamboat Took on the Railroad—and Lost

A case of mistaken identity causes a vessel to crash into a bridge and results in new a rule for marking safe passage with red lights.

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Emily Pierson handing out leaflets in New York State Suffrage Campaign

A Feeling of Solidarity: Labor Unions and Suffragists Team Up

The voting booth and the shop floor were two important arenas in the fight for women’s equality.

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The Long, Ambiguous History of Connecticut’s Blue Laws

January 27, 2015 • Everyday Life, Law, The State

Connecticut’s blue laws are a series of laws based on puritan values that restrict or ban certain “morally questionable” activities on days of worship or rest.

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Peddler E.H. Farrell with his cart, 1910

New Britain’s Yankee Peddlers Boost 18th-century Economy

Around the year 1740, brothers William and Edward Patterson (or…

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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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A Fair to Forget – Who Knew?

…send in the cops to stop all the fun. In…

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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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Horses crossing the finish line at Charter Oak Park

Sunday Funday? We Think Not – Who Knew?

…that amusements and morals don’t mix.  At the start of…

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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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Harriet Beecher Stowe's residence

Hartford’s Nook Farm

This small enclave in the capital city’s west end became home to many of the 19th century’s most celebrated and creative personalities.

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Aldrich Free Public Library, Plainfield

Aldrich Free Public Library: Dedicated to the Dissemination of Knowledge

Over 100 years ago, residents of the Moosup section of…

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Sharon Baseball Team

Semi-Pro Baseball in Sharon – Who Knew?

…that from the 1930s until about the early 1970s, Sharon…

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Horse drinking from a watering trough, Harwinton

Hidden Nearby: Harwinton’s Catlin Trough

March 5, 2014 • Everyday Life, Harwinton

This memorial to a town father reminds us of the integral role that horses and other animals once played in daily 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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Suburban Development, Lower Litchfield County

Suburban Development in Litchfield County 1982

Few other states felt the lure of the suburbs as…

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Puerto Rican Festival, Hartford

Park Street Festival, Hartford 1978

Despite the exodus to the suburbs, Connecticut’s cities still retain…

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G. Fox and Co. Delivery Fleet, ca.1910-1950

G. Fox and the Golden Age of Department Stores

Founded by Gerson Fox in 1848, G. Fox & Co….

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Pottery at Norwich, Norwich, ca. 1830.

From Kiln to Collection: Norwich Pottery and Its Makers

January 26, 2014 • Everyday Life, Norwich

Despite the lack of good local clay, Norwich potteries flourished, turning out jugs, jars, crocks, pie plates, dishes, and other utilitarian objects.

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Map of the invasion of New Haven

Ezra Stiles Captured 18th-Century Life on Paper

Educator and theologian Ezra Stiles authored numerous scholarly publications and…

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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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Scoville Library, Salisbury

The Scoville Memorial Library

January 10, 2014 • Education, Everyday Life, Salisbury

The first publicly funded library in the US continues to serve the town of Salisbury.

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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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Barkhamsted, Lighthouse Archaeological Site

“Outcasts” Build Their Own Village in 18th-Century Barkhamsted

September 26, 2013 • Barkhamsted, Everyday Life, Native Americans

In a wooded area of Barkhamsted near Ragged Mountain lie…

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Video – Connecticut’s Cultural Treasures: Litchfield Historical Society

Connecticut’s Cultural Treasures is a series of 50 five-minute film vignettes that profiles a variety of the state’s most notable cultural resources.

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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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Trolley interior, Branford Electric Railway - Trolley Museum

Branford Gets On the Trolley

The era of the trolley forever altered the development of…

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Warren Congregational Church

Warren Congregational Church, a Longstanding Community Center

Located at 4 Sackett Hill Road in Warren, Connecticut, is…

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A fire swept through the tent at the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus in Hartford, July 6, 1944

Hartford Circus Fire: “The Tent’s on Fire!” – Who Knew?

…that the Hartford Circus Fire may be the worst human-caused…

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Reeling Warp, Silk Industry, South Manchester

Picture This: Seeing Connecticut in 3-D

June 20, 2013 • Everyday Life, Popular Culture

From operations at the Cheney Silk Factory to street scenes, fairs, and families playing croquet on their front lawns, the John S. Craig Collection of stereo views provides a fascinating glimpse of 19th-century life.

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The lock and trigger assembly on the Deming rifle neatly combine function and aesthetics

A Pioneering Connecticut Firearm

Before Colt and others ushered in the age of mass production, individual makers, such Harmon Deming, handcrafted firearms.

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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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Railroad tracks, Bolton Hill Cut, Bolton

Rock-Solid Industry in 19th-Century Bolton

Driving along Route 44 in Bolton, motorists travel through a…

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New Haven Green

The Connecticut Town Green

Considered a quintessential feature of the New England landscape, town greens weren’t always the peaceful, park-like spaces we treasure today.

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Public library, Southington

A History of Libraries Speaks Volumes About Southington

While it is not uncommon in the modern era for…

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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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Original brass stencil used for decorating Hitchcock chairs

The “Fancy Chair” Craze of the 1800s: Lambert Hitchcock and the Story of the Hitchcock Chair

More than something to sit on, “fancy chairs” were emblems of social mobility for middle-class Americans.

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Hervey Brooks's pottery wheel

Hervey Brooks’s 19th-Century Pottery Barn

Hervey Brooks was an American potter and farmer who made…

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Sign for Holcomb's Inn, 1802

A Sign of the Times Blends Masonic and Patriotic Imagery

April 26, 2013 • Everyday Life, Granby

The sign from a tavern operated by Luther Holcomb, a Granby mason, reflects his fraternal affiliation as well as the establishment’s role as a meeting site.

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Video – Home Front: Connecticut During World War II – Civil Defense

This excerpt from the Connecticut Experience series provides a glimpse into the people, places, and events that have shaped our state’s history.

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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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Hartford Street Railway Company Electricians, ca. 1907. Electrifying the railroad created new jobs

A Revolution in Horse Power: The Hartford & Wethersfield Horse Railroad Goes Electric

In 1888, Hartford commuters and city-goers zipped down Wethersfield Avenue in a horseless trolley car for the first time.

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Charles De Wolf Brownell, Charter Oak

The Unsteady Meaning of “The Land of Steady Habits”

Throughout the centuries, this well known phrase has been used to stand for—or has been used as a foil against—a remarkable list of subjects, from beer drinking (for) and sushi (for) to showing movies on Sundays (against) and hair bobbing by women (against).

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Clock tower and Sharon Inn, Sharon, ca. 1930s

The Rise of the “Second Home” Community in Sharon – Who Knew?

…that after the Civil War and through the 1930s, recreational…

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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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John Randall House, North Stonington

North Stonington’s Randall House, Nothing Ordinary about It

Randall’s Ordinary was the dream of Connecticut natives William and…

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Waste Not, Want Not: The Colonial Era Midden

From tools, dishes, and clothing to muskrat bones, household trash from 1700s reveals how Yankees of the era lived.

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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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Postcard of Luna Park, Hartford

Luna Park: A 20th-century Story of Amusement and Morality

The story of Luna Park in West Hartford provides insight…

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Lebanon Grange Hall

The Lebanon Grange Followed a Different Tune than National Movement

September 27, 2012 • Agriculture, Arts, Everyday Life, Lebanon

Music played a central role in fraternal rituals and sense of community.

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Corpse preserver

Death and Mourning in the Civil War Era

The Civil War transformed traditional practices of death and mourning in Victorian-era Connecticut.

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